As long as we cannot provide adequate safety measures in this war against the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a front-liner should be a choice, not an obligation
"Such a weird nation we are!" This often-heard line has become a cliché now. But the irony is that there is certain amount of truth in it.
Not so long ago, the whole nation was criticizing the entire doctors' community when they demanded personal safety equipment, and some of them refused to treat patients without it.
But now that three of our dedicated physicians have sacrificed their lives in the battle against Covid-19, the entire nation has nothing but admiration for them. They are now full of good words like 'love', 'salute', 'respect', and 'martyr' with a hashtag for the doctors.
Our people often seem to have this love and hate relationship with the doctors – in other words – reverence with certain amount of scepticism. But the aching truth is that no amount of love or respect will bring those departed souls back.
It is true that life and death are intermingled in a strange way and probably the highest and the lowest points of one's journey through life. But protections are also necessary and personal protection equipment is one of the most essential precautionary measures for doctors and nurses while treating infected patients. To have access to protective equipment is one of the basic rights of health workers.
It is our failure that we failed to provide the basic safety equipment and proper training to them from the beginning. But instead of owning up to our failures, we initially criticized the health workers and forced them to treat patients without appropriate safety equipment.
It was like throwing a soldier in front of a projectile without guns and armours, an expected fatality. But the truth is when these doctors chose the white gown, they signed up for Grey's Anatomy, not Hunger Games. So, ensuring the safety of these fighters is essential.
With exponentially rising infected cases and an alarming death toll every day, there is a massive shortage of personal protective equipment all over the world.
As a result, we have seen health workers in several countries including the UK and Pakistan wear bin bags and consequently test Covid-19 positive in the end.
We often forget that no one is immune to death and these front-liners also have the rights to basic human needs, including safety, which they are often deprived of.
Even if we put aside that thought, we have to admit that health workers are our first line of defence in this war against Covid-19 pandemic. If they fail, the entire nation is destined to the same fate. But unfortunately, every time they get exposed to an infected patient, they are putting themselves one step closer to the edge.
Besides, they have people at home, including their parents, siblings, spouse, children dependent on them in so many ways.
Death is inevitable. But what more excruciating is the void created by the separation from the loved ones and the unfulfilled longings to be with them.
However, not only the health workers, some other professionals including police, army, bankers, journalists, delivery guys and etc are also the front-liners who are putting their lives at risk at every single moment.
When these brave-hearts are at work busy saving the nation day and night, they are putting their own lives in danger and at the same time, running the risk of infecting their families and community members in the process.
In this dire situation, to appreciate and encourage the fighting spirit of the front-liners, particularly the doctors, the government has offered several stimulus packages including monetary benefits, health insurance and etc. But it comes at the cost of these fighters' own safety and sometimes even their lives.
At the end of the day, however, how much money in this world could possibly bring back a parent to his/her children and make them feel safe again? How much money could fill up the void or the emptiness of a wife's heart and make her whole again? Or how much money could wipe the tears from the eyes of the parents and put a smile on their face again? Apparently, none!
So, as long as we cannot provide adequate safety measures in this war against the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a front-liner should be a choice, not an obligation.