Fight Covid-19 Stigma against Heath Workers

By Annet Birungi

The Covid – 19 pandemic now ravaging the country has shown urgent need to protect health workers since they are the frontline soldiers in the fight against the corona virus. All efforts geared towards successful combat against the pandemic and plans to stop the virus from spreading are dependent on how well equipped the frontline health workers are in interacting with patients.
Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, caretakers and paramedics across the country are facing unique worker loads in the overstretched health facilities with majority of them working in stressful and frightening work environments with under protected settings making them more vulnerable to infection There is a likelihood of increased levels of distress and anxiety of frontline health workers that tested positive to covid19.
The Covid-19 National response team in preventing the spread of corona virus is doing a commendable job by implementing the response guidelines of social distancing, promoting good hygiene practices of washing hands and use of sanitizers plus providing protective equipment to the frontline health workers to slow down the spread,however there is one area of concern that must be addressed, the stigma and discrimination that frontline health workers that have tested positive for Covid-19 are set to face at their places of work, in the families and at community level. Health workers are being pointed at as ones treating people infected with covid19 and are being shunned. What health workers need at this time is support for effective, adequate and efficient supply of personal protective equipment and a conducive working environment.
Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union is playing a lead role in the COVID-19 protection response by moving faster to help health workers combat the pandemic among nurses and midwives that represent the vast majority of health care workers in the country. The government must provide the health workers with the support they need like accomodation near workplaces so that they work efficiently while protecting their lives. Health workers need access to counseling services, so that they remaion alive when another pandemic strikes

Increase Sense of Safety
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Properly dispose off used tissues.
• Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, arm, or elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
• Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
• Stay at home if you are sick.
• Avoid contact with those who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect objects or surfaces that may have come into contact with germs. Make plans for what will happen if someone in the home becomes ill or if quarantine or shelter¬in-place measures are ordered■

About the Author
Ms Annet Birungi is National Treasurer Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union ,Secretary NOTU Women Committee
Aspiring Female Workers Member of Parliament 2021