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COVID-19: The Pyschological Effect Is Alarming- Health Worker Warns

In the world of work globally, occupational safety cannot be compromised. Little wonder, the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH), continues to be an advocate in this direction.
Taking a look at the health sector, one of the key challenges faced today by health workers is the lack of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), and also lack of some form of health insurance are key issues begging for attention at this time.
According to IOSH global, the estimated total number of fatal occupational accidents and work-related illnesses across the world is 19% higher than the 2.33 million estimated in 2014.
This is reflecting the inclusion of respiratory cases caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and work-related asthma, which was missing from the 2014 report.
With the advent of coronavirus, the issue of occupational safety comes to fore because of health workers who are putting their lives on the line due to the nature of their job at this crucial time.
In this interview with HSENations; Abiodun Oluwatobi, an Emergency Nurse Specialist and lead ambassador for Vigor Health Drive, a US-based NGO shares insight into what health personnel are going through in the face of this pandemic.
HSENations: Kindly tell us more about yourself?
Response: I am Abiodun Oluwatobi Hezekiah, An Emergency Nurse Specialist; a member of the American Heart Association, a FirstAid and Basic Life support (BLS) specialist, an HSE Expert, and a Social Entrepreneur.
I am currently working as an industrial medic with one of the leading indigenous food manufacturing company in Lagos, Nigeria.
My quest to arm myself with knowledge and skills led me to engage in different trainings and conferences outside and in my field. I am the Admin of NJO Healthcare Services; an organization that provides first aid training, ambulance cover and recruitment services for industries.
I have conducted several projects across the country with many awards to my name.
HSENations: As a stakeholder in the health sector, what does Occupational Safety means to you?
Response: Occupational Safety in the medical field encompasses the practice of safety measures to minimize or eliminate safety hazards, which is not limited to standard precaution in the care of patients.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Pandemic: IOSH Postpone 75th Anniversary Celebration

HSENations: In your opinion would you say the medical field have the highest rate of work related injuries?
Response: Well, that would honestly be subjected to research. However, no injury is too small to be discounted, so effort must be made to prioritize occupational safety in the health sector.
HSENations: What is your view as regards the outbreak of Covid-19 and what’s the effect on Doctors and Nurses?
Response: Psychologically, the effects is alarming and the media is really not helping in broadcasting positive news and information to minimise the spread. Surprisingly, the death rate is at between 3-4% yet the panic is out there.
As for doctors and nurses, the effect is increased workload and lack of necessary PPE and we all know the solutions.
HSENations: Talking about the rate of containment, do you think our Medical Practitioners have been able to handle the pandemic outbreak in the country unlike their counterparts around the world?
Response: Structurally, we are not ready. We don’t have the necessary facilities to handle this outbreak, government is only just trying to put things in order. We hope it doesn’t go beyond this scale.
HSENations: What are the level of risk health workers are exposed to in Nigeria and accros the World now?
Response: The risk of getting infected is high due to lack of PPE. Adequate measures need to be put in place to ensure we don’t run out of PPEs to minimize the spread.
HSENations: What are the simple ways to mitigate these identified risks you mentioned?
Response: As mentioned above, the best practical way is getting enough PPEs and other sanitary equipment for every health worker out their. We also have families and we have a right to live like every other person.

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