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Protecting those who protect us

  • Published at 08:00 pm March 28th, 2020
mask corona-ppe-personal protective equipment

It is high time we start taking the safety of our doctors seriously

Imagine your country is at war with a deadly enemy. The enemy is heavily armed with high calibre weapons, and even if you manage to take some of their personnel down, slowly but surely, you will continue losing your men, until there is no one left standing.

Now, imagine that your government and your people have made some specialized armour that can protect you from your enemies’ bullets. Instead of giving it to you, they have given it to bankers and bureaucrats that have almost zero chance of even facing the enemy, let alone getting attacked by them.

They will manage the “essential” managerial work while you are what is standing between the enemy and total annihilation. Every last one of your comrades dies and the people of the country get attacked, including the bankers and bureaucrats. Since they don’t possess the special skills to fight the enemy, they die anyway. What was the point of giving them the armour?

While the above paragraph can be attributed to a lot of countries in the world right now, this especially applies to Bangladesh, and the way it is choosing to fight Covid-19. The government has said that it is working on acquiring PPE for the doctors, which is crucial for them to fight against Covid-19.

They work with the virus daily, and they are at the highest risk of getting infected. And if we start losing our doctors to this disease, we will have no line of defense against the virus.

The government clearly has money in its pockets, but it is still not paying much heed to the PPE need. Even as we enter our third confirmed death due to Covid-19, the response of the government in regards to PPE has been very lacklustre.

On top of that, the health minister has said that the need for PPE has not become urgent. And let us not start with the banks. Anyone that has the capability to keep losing millions upon millions on a daily basis is more than capable of producing a large number of PPE. But still, it’s their money, it’s fine and all. 

But investing in people that can’t protect them and the people they do business with while disregarding the only people that can save them is nothing short of suicide. When you look at it like that, it becomes apparent why they have been repeatedly fooled into giving away millions.

Regardless, it is still disappointing to see how Bangladesh is handling the PPE issue altogether. Our doctors are barely getting PPE, while people working in banks and other bureaucrats in the divisional level are taking pictures in PPE. We have already had instances where doctors had to go into self-isolation, with one going to the ICU.

According to the CDC, Covid-19 spreads through the following ways: 

• Through close contact between people

• Through respiratory droplets created when infected people cough or sneeze

Since doctors have to work under both of these conditions, it is very easy for the virus to spread between them. While people might say that those who have contracted the virus can just be kept in isolation, the fact remains that without PPE, doctors will continue to get infected.

And with Covid-19 claiming the lives of doctors all over the world, it doesn’t take a brainiac to understand why PPE is necessary for doctors. On the other hand, bureaucrats and bankers might be unlucky enough to come into contact with the people who have the virus, but that is very unlikely. And to solve that problem, we need to go under complete lockdown, which our government is on the verge of implementing.

But the people who will have to work even under this lockdown are doctors. And the people who are at the most risk of contracting Covid-19 are doctors as well. And at the end of the day, the only people that can defend us from this dangerous virus are the same people we frequently refer to as butchers.

So yes, it is high time we start taking the safety of our doctors seriously. If not, well, let’s just hope we can pay off the virus when the time comes, because they might be the only people who make it to the endgame.

Nafis Shahriar is a freelance contributor.