Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog.
Today, I want to share with you, something that has been on my mind for a while. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, I noticed that most of us (healthcare workers- HCW) have been very alert as far as infection prevention is concerned; which is good👍🏾. When we saw the COVID storm raging from Asia across Europe and the Americas, we knew it was just a matter of when and so we started sounding the alarm ⏰.
I remember how health workers took to social media to tell the world about our lack of PPEs. Hw3, we were wild oo😲.
So what at all are PPEs?🤔
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), PPEs (Personal Protective Equipments) are “specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against infectious materials”. The World Health Organization further states that PPEs protect the user from getting an infection or even spreading the infection. PPEs include any equipment or clothing worn with the intent of protecting against or preventing spreading infection. Hence, facemasks are key PPEs in this COVID pandemic because they protect the wearer from either contracting the virus or spreading the virus in case you are the infected one by blocking the source of the infection, mouth, and nose😷.
The type of PPEs used must be selected based on the risk. That is to say, the wearer must ask himself or herself “what are the risks of infection or harm to me in this procedure/ situation?” and select the PPEs based on that. In pandemics such as these where two or more are gathered, the science is that some are susceptible (S), others are Immune (I) and yet others recovered(R)- SIR Model(let me do small science for shege reasons la🤣). If you go to places such as parties, boys boys outings, girls’ hangout etc, or sit in a bus or visit a hair salon, you should ask yourself, “what is the risk in being here?”. The SIR model plays out here and your risk of infection is high. Conversely, simply keeping your face mask on drops these risks significantly albeit not completely.
At the height of our fight for PPEs, an old school mate hit me up on WhatsApp to find out what these PPEs were all about. In her mind, she thought we were asking for something very wild. When I explained to her what PPEs were, she was like “aah, does that mean, you guys were working without them? 😱“ My response was, “madam it’s a long story meant for another day”😆. I don’t think I ever got back to her on it. But I’ve pondered over that question time and again🤥. Why do some HCWs work without PPEs?
We have needed them from the very first day we started having patient interactions as students but as you know, like many other sectors of our lives we were taking chances due mostly to our low perception of risks. In some cases, it is due to ignorance and/or sheer irresponsibility😢.
For instance, I see some staff suctioning patients with no body protection (plastic aprons) nor facial protection (facemasks, goggles/face shields)😫. Sometimes, you see the person close one eye with the other eye opened. Eeiii!!!! Only in my motherland😅. What gives us the impression that the opened eye is resistant to contracting infections through the droplets coming out. Again, we attend to TB patients in our various facilities often without adequate airborne precautions including the use of respirators.
Then comes along COVID-19, a droplet infection with risk of airborne transmission and now, same people will not accept that surgical facemasks are enough if airborne procedures are not being carried out. Oddly though, we request for protection only when we are with patients but at our nurses’ stations and doctors’ restrooms, no form of precaution goes on there. No facemask, no social distance. In our minds, the patient is the threat forgetting that the healthcare worker is not a superhuman🧐 and that we are all at risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
GMA Campaign against COVID-19
If you’re not a HCW, I’m sure you’re wondering how this concerns you. 😁 It concerns you because Boys Boys and Girls Girls are simply not wearing the facemask for so many weird reasons. For those who wear, all caution is thrown to the wind when we meet as team or squad members; no social (physical) distancing, no wearing of facemasks. Who said your friend or co-worker is safe? Let’s remember that PPEs are only effective if they are worn at all times. Wearing them in some instances and leaving them out when you please will definitely not give you the level of protection you desire.
So the next time you attend that function or stand by a patient to perform a procedure, take a few minutes to assess your risk before you proceed. You don’t need to know this is a suspected COVID patient before you protect yourself. If you wait to know, it may be too late.
Remember also, that there are lots of asymptomatic people (carriers), i.e they have the virus but show no symptoms and they have risks of spreading the virus when they sneeze, cough, talk, and even breath (Ningthoujam, 2020).
Legacy Foods image
Christmas is here and there are bound to be lots of gatherings with family and friends who have traveled across the globe and across the country. Amidst the merrymaking👯🏾♂️, stay safe my dear reader😷. Stay safe at all times while interacting with everyone. If we drop our guard, people will get sick and we may lose some more people. Some countries in Europe and the Americas have been terribly hit by second and in some cases, third waves, and in certain countries, these new waves are worse than the first wave😰. Let’s all play our role to prevent a second wave in Ghana💪🏾. Wear your facemask at all times, wash your hands regularly, and avoid crowded places.
GMA campaign against COVID
Until I come your way again soon, keep safe and remember COVID is still a threat!