AS ONE OF THE frontliners in these trying times, I’d have to admit that I’m terribly worried.
The number of health workers lost to this pandemic in Nigeria is rising by the day.
Most of the centers, as expected in Nigeria, do not have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and in some areas where they exist, they are not complete or enough.
In the center where I work, UBTH, the Management, arguably the best around right how, has made arrangements for PPE especially for those of us frontliners who meet patients as they enter the hospital for the first time with health challenges either at the Accident & Emergency, Children Emergency, or even the Consultant Outpatient Department, COPD.
The PPEs, though funny-looking 😃😃😃 and incomplete according to recommended guidelines, are actually as important as they are funny.
However, regardless of these laudable measures, you can’t wipe away the panic, the palpable fear or the horror that we have when we meet patients whose symptoms are either so vague or who outrightly have Covid-19-like symptoms. The terror is indescribable, especially given that we already have an isolation ward with Coronavirus patients there on admission, and the cases in the community are on a daily rise.
There’s already a heightened index of suspicion. Every vague symptom complex or just high-grade fever is ?Covid-19 until proven otherwise, yet the terror lingers.
To make matters worse, many Nigerian patients have resorted to concealing some elements of their history such as recent travels or contact with persons with Covid-19-like symptoms all in a bid to prevent the health workers from suspecting Covid-19 and isolating them. But by so doing, they endanger us all cos some of these patients could actually have Covid-19.
Now with every news of the death of another health worker from Covid-19, the fear cranks up another notch.
It seems we are all living on the edge, going to work to do what we love best, but at the same time hoping we don’t catch the virus from our patients and then infect our loved ones or even dying from it.
Now with the country slowly easing on the lockdown, we expect a “geometric increase” in the number of new cases, as well as the number that will present to the hospital with Covid-19 symptoms.
If I say I’m not scared, I’d be lying.
God save us all.
[📸: Me and a few of my colleagues at the A&E on our “PPEs”]
+++Impossibility is nothing. Just believe+++
© Caséy Amaefule ’20