Lost Yet Again
Nurse Offe, the health care worker on duty, thought the 16-year-old patient who she helped save after 15 cardiac arrests at the LASUTH isolation centre was very lucky. "It was a miracle that he survived", she said.
Since the 16-year-old patient`s Covid-19 status was still unclear, his guardian was understandably reluctant to have him admitted in the isolation centre, fearing he would inevitably contract the virus there.
The boy had his first cardiac arrest as soon as his guardian left to get him some injections and drugs. Doctors were summoned from other departments to help save the patient when Offe was eventually exhausted of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Since the first official case of covid-19 on Feb. 27, 2020, Nigeria`s health care system has had a significant increase in the number of patients who desperately need the service of health care workers. "... overwhelming number and poor condition of patients. Had to adjust my work ethic." said Dr O.A, a 32 year old doctor during his 24-hour shift while on call.
On December 18, 2020, Nigeria recorded over 1000 confirmed covid-19 cases in a day even as the federal government of Nigeria updated its citizens on the arrival of the second wave of covid-19. There were also stories about different strains of the covid-19 virus. Health care workers were anxious about the rising number of cases in the country.
"The fact that the numbers are names and the names are faces and the face could be anybody" said Offe while stating what bothers her about the rising number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria.
Not all patients at LASUTH isolation centre are covid-19 positive. However, one has to treat every patient with the same precaution.
"I practice social distancing in all events", says Dr I.A, a 32 year old doctor who had had covid-19 test done four times since the pandemic started.
"We work together as a team." said nurse K.V who had worked at the isolation centre for seven months. Hovever, stress and burnout also affects their interpersonal relationships. "It`s horrible and terrible. When i`m stressed i may experience anxiety, fear, anger, sadness or frustration and these feelings can sometimes feed on each other and produce physical symptoms which make me feel even worse" another 37 year old nurse added.
As the number of covid-19 confirmed cases reduce globally with the availability of vaccines, Nigeria has also received 4 million doses of COVAX on March 4. Health care workers have been given high priority to be a part of the first set of citizens to get vaccinated.
As of March 30, 2021, Nigeria has had 162,762 confirmed cases, 151,532 discharged and 2,056 deaths in total since the pandemic started. Confirmed cases in Nigeria has reduced to 121 per day. Over 10% of Nigeria`s population has received their first dose.
Hopefully if more citizens get vaccinated, the impact of covid-19 on the lives of health care workers would be less harsh.
The test result of the 16-year-old patient returned the next day. He was negative.
Working Title I Covid-19 Health Care Workers on Call
Topic l Impact of Covid-19 on the Lives of Healthcare Workers in Lagos, Nigeria
Ethically Approved by LASUTH Ethics and Research Committee, acknowledged by CMD LASUTH.
Special thanks to Professor Adetokunbo Fambanwo (Chief Medical Director LASUTH), Ed Kashi, Dr Guiliano De Portu, Professor Olusegun Akinbami and all the healthcare workers who willingly shared their stories and gave a wriiten consent to undergo this project.