Dr Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor
Psychologist/Immediate Past President (TTAP)
The recent spike in the coronavirus cases in our country has also led to an increase in calls to the CIT hotline (Crisis Intervention team, TT Association of Psychologists)—but this time from persons who have been on the frontline of this battle—our nurses. These are the persons who continue to place their lives, and that of their families, in the line of ‘fire’ as they face and interact daily with those persons affected by the coronavirus. Nurses continue to face a potential risk of infection as well as work-related anxiety and mental health problems associated with this invisible and highly contagious new disease.
From the calls that we have gotten, many have expressed that they do not feel safe; rather, they believe that their safety and that of their colleagues is compromised. What are the statistics, if any, on the infection rates of our healthcare workers? Is this important? Around the world, some governments are recording the number of infections and deaths among healthcare staff so that needed measures are taken to protect nurses and doctors from contracting the deadly virus. These reports also include incidents of psychological, sexual, and physical violence against healthcare workers (ICN-International Council of Nurses) so that Dr Vanessa Harry’s article on ‘Discrimination against doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (Trinidadian Guardian, Wednesday, September 2) is to be commended as she also sought to highlight an issue that many persons are not aware of—that of stigmatisation and discrimination against healthcare workers in this society.