Government officials have confirmed that the team of nurses placed on duty for the most serious COVID-19 cases detected in the Maldives, completed their 14-day quarantine and returned back to work this week.
These nine nurses were amongst that on-call at Faurholhu Fushi Isolation facility and Dharumavantha Hospital, where two Italian nationals that tested positive for the virus were admitted at the critical care unit.
Fully geared with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the nurses spent hours beside the patients, providing treatment and closely monitoring them.
Exposed to high-risk at the front line of this global pandemic, these health care workers were placed in isolation following the release of their patients after recovery.
Speaking to local media Mihaaru, Physician of Internal Medicine at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital Dr Mohamed Ali, described these nurses as “the real heroes”, praising them for their selfless example.
“They are very brave. I really want to compliment them, as well as our support staff, for their effort”, he said.
“They are always present with the patients. They have a very unique kind of strength”.
Health advocate and frequent representative for the medical community on the panel for the National Emergency Operations Centre’s daily held press conferences, Dr Nazla Rafeeq echoed his sentiment, iterating her appreciation for those working in the health care sector.
“We need to note the efforts of nurses, lab technicians, ward attendants and others who work alongside doctors taking care of treatments and routine checkups”, Medical Officer of Health Protection Agency (HPA) Dr Nazla Rafeeq said.
Since the first detection, authorities have been collaborating on the front lines to contain the spread of COVID-19 within the community. HPA collects samples as soon as a suspected case is identified, military personnel from Maldives National Defense force make up the rapid response team that transfers suspected cases to isolation facilities and assist in contact tracing. Maldives Police Service implements HPA’s guidelines, in addition to helping the community in various ways. Disaster Management Centre, tourism industry staff, other relevant authorities also play a major role in the fight against COVID-19 as well.
These teams have been working nonstop for two months, but nurses are particularly noteworthy for being the ones that spent the most time with the patients.
Worldwide, health care workers have been bearing the brunt force of the pandemic. The same is true for the Maldives, since the country began its nationwide preparations, implementing safety measures from January onward. Nurses are placed directly on the front lines, being the most active with regards to collecting and testing samples for COVID-19, along with the doctors, lab technicians and assistants.
As the Maldives enters the toughest stage of the outbreak with the confirmation of community spread in capital Male’, health care professionals are gearing up to shoulder the heaviest consequences of the outbreak. Adding to the challenge is the fact that housing a population of 133,412 in an area of 9.27 square kilometres (3.58 sq mi) makes Male City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world as well as the planet’s fifth most densely populated island.
Should a large number of positive cases be found with the completion of contact tracing for the latest COVID-19 cases, it is certain that their workload too will multiple accordingly.
Therefore, given the shortcomings of a small developing island nation, as authorities have time and again repeated, it is vital that the efforts of healthcare workers are both appreciated and respected; that their warnings to ‘stay home’ and ‘flatten the curve’ are heeded.
The Maldives now has 23 confirmed and seven active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over two million people and claimed over 134,720 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 515,854 people have recovered.
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