Published on April 20 2020
Dubai: The UAE’s health care frontliners have been thrust into the centre stage with a recent video on twitter posted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, describing them as the new star players and MVPs that we can all cheer for as one in light of sports event cancellations.
Working with tireless grace and dedication they put in 14-17 hour shifts and are often unable to meet their own families, yet they continue to remain upbeat for their patients.
Gulf News spoke to these healthcare heroes to get their thoughts and stories to pay tribute to their efforts...
'In this crisis, I have to contribute to the best of my abilities'
Nandkishore Nakka, a paramedic with Medeor Hospital and Dubai Health Authority, originally from India, has been assigned 12-hour shifts from 1pm to 1am working four days with three days off.
“Our schedule extends much beyond that and spills over to other days too where I am assigned to various DHA isolation centres,” said the married father of one. “I haven’t informed my family about my job as they would panic a lot and it would make things difficult for me.”
When he goes to pick up a suspected COVID-19 patient he has to wear complete Personal Protective Equipment with face shield and four layers of gloves.
“I have to be very careful as if I touch the patient I cannot touch another surface with the same gloves and have to discard them.
“When we get the patient, we have to switch off air-conditioning in the ambulance and start the exhaust to throw out harmful air that might contaminate the confined space. This is fine now, but can you imagine in the summer with layers of PPE without AC, hot challenging this will be?
For each patient he logs their vitals and prepares notes including test dates before arrival to hospital.
“This is just for one patient,” he said. “Once we drop them off we have to discard all PPE, change, sanitise and get ready for the next call. I do at least 6-7 cases a day, so have to change that many times. It is very tiring but I feel this is a crisis situation and I must contribute to the best of my abilities otherwise what use is my diploma? Sometimes I fear contracting the disease but I push these thoughts aside as there is no room for thinking about one’s self first.”
'The smile on the face of a patient when he tests negative is priceless'
Mary Grace Rebater, 40, is housekeeper for Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Originally from Phillipines, Mary is in charge of cleaning and sanitising the COVID-19 isolation ward.
“I follow the complete medical protocol and enter the room wearing complete PPE. Every day, I have to clean and disinfect the rooms, the main entrance to the ward, and the elevators leading to the floor,” she said.
Rebater said her cleaning covers every aspect of the room from floor to ceiling.
“I do wall to wall cleaning, sanitising everything including the light fixtures, the curtains, the tables, chairs, beds. First I do the dusting and vacuum, followed by deep cleaning and sanitisation. It is tiring and I am scared, but this is the new protocol we have to follow,” said Rebater who feels very hot and confinded in her PPE suit when she has to clean and scrub.
“Besides that, every two hours we have to change the PPE and I change at least four times in a day,” After putting in over 14 hours of duty, Rebater has to go home and rustle up a dinner for herself. “It’s back breaking and returning home to cook a meal is equally tiring. When I am too exhausted, I order from outside. The times are tough and there is no way out other than fighting with the infection by making sure this effort of cleaning and sanitising doesn’t go to waste. This seems relentless, but I am doing my part too,” she said.
'I haven’t visited my family here in Dubai, for a month'
Courtesy : Gulf News