We Don’t Need to be Called “Heroes”

Submitted by Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030
April 27, 2020

This pandemic made me realise that we love to call people “heroes” instead of just giving them the equipment and environment they need to do their jobs safely.

Governments need to work with Nurses & other health workers to develop programs that best address their needs. Their voices are essential for programs that truly provide ‘health for all’. 

As health workers, if we aren’t well, we can’t serve our patients the way we would love to, and so it only makes sense that there should be a conversation about this. Applause is good, but PPE is better. 

I appreciate that the world is celebrating the work of health workers during this pandemic as they play a critical role in keeping the world healthy. But I also like to call on governments and the international community as a whole to protect healthcare workers by giving them the right PPE and by testing them for the virus. 

ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton couldn’t have said it better: “Governments must collect and standardise reporting on health care workers’ COVID19 infection rates & deaths. This is a vital information to help improve prevention measures and protect lives.”

‪In addition to that, we should also not forget health workers who are working in poor, crowded settings where social distancing may be an impossibility, where regular handwashing is an unaffordable luxury, and where many people have no hope of accessing hospital care.

As a Nurse, I feel very PROUD of the resilience healthcare workers are all demonstrating and how we are adapting to the changes taking place all over the world. I have never been THIS proud to be in the frontlines.

In my capacity as a Clinical Research Nurse, I am incredibly grateful to have the privilege to be on clinical and research service during these challenging times. The courage, commitment and resourcefulness of the entire healthcare team under difficult circumstances has been nothing short of inspiring. It has also provided me with a new perspective on the rapidly evolving clinical unmet needs in patients with suspect COVID-19 and my colleagues. There is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic testing, treatments for those with rapidly progressive respiratory failure and protective equipment for healthcare personnel. Only together can we change the trajectory for those affected by this pandemic.

In behalf of all the fallen ‘Heroes’,

Jose Maria ‘Lloyd’ Nunag, R.N.