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Role of Frontline Healthcare Workers in the fight against the CoViD-19.

Most importantly, I thank God for the gift of life, and divine provisioning that we never asked for but was given to us. I thank thee.
My immense appreciation goes to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Governors of the States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC, and other workers providing essential services to the Nigerian People at this trying moment of our lives. With deep appreciation, I also acknowledge the generosity of captain of industries, corporate entities, artistes and other public-spirited individuals.

In thanking healthcare workers on the frontline around the world for combating SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) as the world emerges from the acute phase of the CoViD-19 crisis, the great contribution of the health workers on the frontline should not go unrecognized. We know that in providing care to those suffering from the Coronavirus Disease, hundreds of health care workers contracted the SARS-CoV-2, and many died. Health workers risk their lives, while helping to save the lives of others. Nigeria is not an exception.

In Nigeria, these frontline workers may be at a heightened risk of psychological distress and other mental health problems, due to the ever increasing number of CoViD-19 confirmed cases, the overwhelming workload, an information overload, aggressive contact tracing and insufficient personal protective equipment and drugs. In similar situations, I am not totally unaware that healthcare workers experience stigmatization, as well as fear of infection for themselves and their families. My heart will always go on for you.

To recognize these unsung heroes, I advocate a Special Recognition Awards (for health workers), to recognize outstanding health workers and individuals who have demonstrated significant achievements in the fight against the CoViD-19 pandemic. Everyone should be able to see the frontline health workers who are essential to the fight against the CoViD-19 but who tend to go unrecognized for their efforts.

This is a collective responsibility. Governments at all levels, Civil society, media and international institutions all have a role in ensuring these frontline healthcare workers are brought to limelight and recognized. As the international community continues to advocate for the protection of health workers, Nigerian Government at both the Federal and the State levels have an equally important role to play, by ensuring safe and secure access to health services for all and strengthening accountability on health workers and facilities. There is an indispensable need to work together beyond the health sector to ensure that provision of health care and life-saving measures does not come at the expense of the lives of health care givers and their patients.

As we endure the most unprecedented time of our lives, my heart aches, as I thought about the lives of the CoViD-19 patients in the hospital isolation wards, adhoc isolation centres and their family members and significant others, as well as each others lives as hospital employees, care givers and within their own personal families. They are to be commended as brave, committed and compassionate individuals. Nigerians stand behind you.

Together, we shall conquer the CoViD-19 pandemic.

KeneChukwu Okeke, MCSD.
National Coordinator, Good Governance Initiative.

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