The forgotten Covid -19 frontline workers raise concerns over safety

By ZBC Reporter

COVID-19 frontline workers putting their lives on the line to assist the afflicted have raised concerns over safety. On a daily basis, people discuss COVID-19 statistics but often forget about the frontline workers that are putting their lives on the line every day.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, which was first reported to the World Health Organisation in December 2019 and declared a public health emergency of concern on the 30th of January this year, there has been an increasing demand on health care services.

In zimbabwe hospitals like Parirenyatwa that have been designated as COVID-19 treatment centres, have been divided into colour-coded zones. On any given day an average of ninety staff members are doing shifts in the red zone, like Sister bertha Sihota and Mr Martin Musekiwa who are stepping directly into COVID-19’s path to aid the afflicted and help stop the virus from spreading.

“If not me then who?” is the question that Martin, Bertha and their colleagues ask themselves. Some frontline workers have contracted the virus in the course of discharging their duty, and working in such a highly infectious environment is not a stroll in the park.

“The crews are working 6-hour shifts and there are discussions to change the shifts to 8 hours. Once a worker puts on the hazmat suit, it’s work non-stop, no breaking for a snack or a sip of water or even going to the bathroom,” says Martin.

Mr Linos Dhire who is part of the Parirenyatwa group of hospitals said: “What about the safety of their family members one would ask. Knowing fully well the risks associated with the type of environment they are operating from. Some opted not to go back home when on duty but some are going back to their families.”

Every day is different and the frontline workers are taking one shift at a time hoping that one day life will return back to normal. The government has also ensured that the frontline workers have access to counselling services so they can recharge before moving on again.