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Our Essential Workers Need Essential Care

Through personal interviews of healthcare workers in India, the state of front-line workers in dealing with Covid-19 in the country is discussed. Lack of personal protective equipment and beds as well as the caste system that operates when it comes to doing cleaning work in the hospitals aggravates the already debilitating condition of healthcare personnel. Despite being the most important stakeholders of health in rural areas, the accredited social health activists are leading a life full of struggles.

One of the biggest worries that epidemiologists, medical practitioners, and governments across the world have cited during the COVID-19 pandemic is running out of healthcare resources—hospital beds in wards and intensive care units (ICUs), and ventilators. But for anyone who has visited ­India’s public hospitals even once in their life, this has been a harsh reality for decades. Having two patients on the bed and one on the floor is not an uncommon sight, even in the maternity wards that receive a larger share of funds under the Indian government’s National Health Mission (NHM). India’s public health system was already failing many of its citizens and staff. Now COVID-19 has emerged as the latest crisis and is worsening the delivery of health services.

In this article, we strive to attract attention to the existing gaps that are widening during the pandemic, and how they may be affecting everyone’s health. In the first section, we discuss the lack of protective equipment for health workers. Second, we look at how overcrowding and inadequate staffing in hospitals is affecting care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In section three, we talk about how hierarchy in public health institutions makes infection control difficult; and section four explores issues that health workers working outside the hospitals are facing.

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Updated On : 16th Oct, 2020

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