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‘Covid-19 can’t be defeated if healthcare workers are discriminated’

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 10, 2020 12:05 am

◘ Removing face mask correctly is more important than wearing one
◘ Your safety is your responsibility
◘ Coronavirus infection does not mean it’s a death sentence

Dr. Vizolie Z Suokhrie along with Dr. Kikameren Longkumer, Deputy Director of Health and Family Welfare, during a press conference in Kohima, on June 9.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, June 9 (EMN):
The Health department of Nagaland on Tuesday debunked some of the misconceptions around the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), which has led to stigmatisation and discrimination, particularly towards healthcare workers and people working in the frontline in the state.

The principal director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vizolie Z Suokhrie, pointed out that stigmatisation and discrimination against frontline workers need to be addressed strongly, adding that if it continues, a time will come where healthcare workers may not be able to work at all.

Reports of some villagers and colonies restricting healthcare workers from entering into their villages and wards during lockdown has prompted the district administrations to issue order to take action against those resorting to such acts. These are all because of misconceptions and not knowing the truth and reality, according to Suokhrie.

“If we start discriminating health workers…the whole issue (purpose) of fighting against the Coronavirus will be over. We will not be able to defeat this coronavirus infection,” he said.

Whether people like it or not, coronavirus is going to stay for a long period, according to the doctor. To prevent the disease is “not threatening each other, not intimidating each other, not accusing each other, not taking the law into our own hand” but through social distancing, hand hygiene, cough hygiene and wearing of mask properly, he added.

As physical/social distancing is an important factor in preventing the disease, lockdowns is being imposed by the government, he said. “Lockdown has done many good things but it has given a very wrong message to the public that this lockdown creates even more psychosis,” he observed. Therefore, he felt the need to discuss more about lockdown and its benefits.

Talking about social distancing, the doctor said it means physical distancing of one meter apart from each other; to avoid direct contact with each other. “This social distancing/physical distancing needs to be continued; maybe we have to continue throughout our life also,” he said.

The principal director also spoke about right way wearing of face mask. He advised the people to wear mask especially in a crowded place. Even in the absence of mask, wear clothes to cover mouth in order to avoid any person who is likely to be carrying the coronavirus, the doctor said.

He also said that wearing and just touching mask over mouth is useless; wearing mask should cover mouth and nose, otherwise just wearing for the sake of wearing and then exposing nose and mouth is pointless. He advised the people to take off mask by touching the strap and said that removing of mask correctly is more important than wearing one.

It is safe to use cloth mask. The only thing is to wash them well after use. However, cloth masks/ fabric made out of hand-woven are porous and may not be advisable for use. He pointed out that mask itself is a PPE. Meanwhile, triple-layer mask is effective but should not be used repeatedly, he added.

There are different types of PPE suits for different environment, according to the doctor. The suits differ from department to department or from type of patients to patients in hospitals. As for the PPE, he said that the department is “comfortable” as there are “enough” PPE at the moment. But the consumption of these PPE will increase when positive cases rises. Therefore, rational use of the gear is very important, he said.

N95 masks, hand sanitiser is for health workers

The principal director said that N95 mask and hand sanitiser are meant for healthcare workers and for those who come in direct contact with Covid-19 positive patients.

‘When I see some people — some officials maybe, general people, common people — wearing N95 mask in open, I feel pained. These are for the healthcare workers who are directly in contact with the people (patients). It’s not a fashion,’ Dr. Suokhrie said.

“Please don’t waste wearing N95 mask, please give it to my health workers,” he requested, adding that these are certain things which people need to be educated about.

People feel that N95 masks are freely available, but it is not, he said, adding that ‘we are grateful that we are prepared. We have adequate numbers for our health workers’.

He called upon the people to take social and individual responsibility to prevent coronavirus. “Your safety is your responsibility,” he said.

Talking about hand sanitiser, he said that it is for healthcare workers as they may not be having running water to wash their hands every time they touch a patient.

Coronavirus infection does not mean it’s a death sentence, he said. More than 85% to 90% recovered even without medicine. Another 10% to 15% may develop into some symptoms but with simple medicines they will be all right.

Very few people, say 1% to 2% needs critical care, he pointed out. If positive people do not have underlying diseases, chances of recovery are very high. Further, he said recovery rate is very high for the age group between 18 to 45.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 10, 2020 12:05:33 am