Healthcare providers have put their own lives on the line to care for those in need throughout the pandemic. File photo: Star

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Healthcare providers have put their own lives on the line to care for those in need throughout the pandemic. File photo: Star

Let’s talk about the heroes of the pandemic. We want to remember those extraordinary men and women who offered selfless service throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, knowing full well that they could be infected with the deadly virus. Undaunted, they went to the front lines and offered help to those who suffered. They launched a war against an enemy, which was an invisible entity that could kill within hours. Interestingly, wars are fought to kill, but this war was fought to save lives.

Let’s stop for a moment and contemplate. These heroes were detached from their families, worked day and night against all odds, survived on food, slept a few hours in crowded motels and shared a room with colleagues. And yet, they embarked on the noblest of all missions: to save human lives. It was the current Florence Nightingale. The whole world saw how these heroes ran with stretchers to the emergency room with breathless patients. They saw death by the dozens every hour.

Bangladesh has also had its share of heroes during the pandemic. From the onset of Covid-19 to the beginning of 2020, our healthcare heroes faced adverse situations such as lack of knowledge about the virus, lack of essential information, clear guidelines from health authorities, shortage personal protective equipment (PPE), oxygen, medication, intensive care beds, etc. ; yet they ran from floor to floor in hospitals looking for essential supplies. They cared for severely infected patients and in the process became infected themselves.

We wanted to mention the names of the Bangladeshi heroes, but it is not possible to collect all the names of those who were on the front line. Many doctors fought on the front lines, setting an example of personal sacrifice by treating severely infected patients with minimal support. They actually went above and beyond the Hippocratic oath to save lives, despite shortages of essential equipment, health facilities and health officials’ unpreparedness to deal with the crisis. These frontline doctors have helped many patients recover and return home. But, at the same time, we sadly remember many of these medical heroes who were unable to return home: many doctors, nurses and carers lost their lives after contracting the coronavirus while on duty.

Besides healthcare providers, heroes have also emerged from the general population. They formed small groups, raised funds, bought essential ration items like rice, lentils, cooking oil and vegetables, and carried them to the doorsteps of the poor who were under home quarantine. . These brave young people cooked food and offered it to workers marching to their villages. Many of them bought oxygen cylinders and went to help patients waiting outside hospitals. Others offered free masks and water bottles to rickshaw pullers and day laborers. They are our heroes.

Along with various people, many social clubs and voluntary organizations, businesses and banks have also donated supplies and ready meals to the poor during the pandemic. We must not forget the services offered by the armed forces, the police and Rab during those dark days. It was indeed a unique example of a human response to one of the deadliest crises in recent human history. We remember heroes.

It was said earlier that health care providers have worked against many obstacles in their fight to save lives. Some government studies indicate that the lack of knowledge about the nature of the virus, its mode of transmission or the incubation period of Covid-19 have been obstacles at every stage of the process. Hospitals were not fully equipped to handle emergency situations, especially the respiratory support system to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome. With the rapid release of new variants, we hope that hospital logistics will be in place and frontline combatants will receive the necessary PPE.

Shahnoor Wahid is a seasoned journalist.

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