Health professionals from different counties shared their experiences in an international webinar titled “Covid-19 and frontline responders: Health professional perspectives”
"I feel like quitting my job, I am putting myself and my family at risk by doing the job. It is very hard for me emotionally as a mother."
May Vilanueva, a registered nurse at the Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand, was sharing her experience with health professionals from different counties in a webinar titled "Covid-19 and frontline responders: Health professional perspectives".
The Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), Bangladesh and the University of Queensland's School of Social Science, Australia jointly organised the international seminar on Monday.
Vilanueva has served six Covid-19 patients from the beginning of the pandemic.
"For almost two months I have been managing Covid patients, and it was not so easy to live away from my family," she said.
"How is it imaginable that you are living in the same house but could not hug you kids, give love to your children? I had to see my kids' faces only through the screen all that time," she added.
Like May, in the webinar, many frontline service providers described the emotional and relational challenges they have faced while providing care to patients.
Other panelists and discussants addressed the fact that the pandemic has taken everyone by surprise, and everyone has found it hard to cope as they are underprepared.
Especially the frontline workers' job is the hardest among everyone as they are playing a big role in tackling the situation.
Professor Dr Ahsan Aurangzeb, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Ayub Medical Teaching Institution at Pakistan, said, "Covid-19 taught us the value of life, the value of relationship, the value of care and the value of humanity eventually."
"When the number of patients was going up day by day, we saw there was a lot of apprehension, fear and phobia. So, we engaged our teams of psychiatrists and clinical psychologist to motivate our staff and we engaged our media department to run a campaign on local radio channels, news channels and hospitals and made announcements to increase public awareness to minimise the spread of the virus and we did a wonderful job," he added.
Emeritus Professor M Adil Khan of Development Practice at the School of Social Science of the University of Queensland said, "Contexts of challenges may vary but solutions have certain common parameters."
"You should be able to empathise with the problem. Because when sometimes an issue does not hit our policymakers, rich or elite, we do not see that is a problem," he added.
He said leadership plays a very important role whether it is in the national level or sub-national level.
Professor Cheshire, head of the School of Social Science and Dr Rebecca E Olson, senior lecturer in sociology of School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, as well as Dr Sulphi Noohu, vice-president of the Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association, among others, joined the webinar.