Health professionals: the frontline in the fight against the Covid-19

coronavirus hospital

(United Nations COVID-19 Response, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna Giaretta Ventorin, a 21 years old medical student and Ms. Amanda Raminelli Morceli, a 22 years old medical student from Unicesumar – Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In face of the Coronavirus pandemic that is currently being experienced by the world, it is of utmost importance to ensure the well-being of health professionals, since they are the front line in the fight against the new virus.

When analyzing the data collected by the Superior Institute of Health until March 17th, 2020, 2.269 health professionals were contaminated in Italy, representing 8.3% of the total affected in the country. Moreover, 17 doctors have been killed by Covid-19 since February, the month of the beginning of the epidemic in Italy. It should be noted that these numbers have not reached the plateau yet, as the virus is on its ascending curve and, that way, it will still contaminate a significant number of people.

In Brazil, the number of cases shows a sharper growth pattern than the Italian one, since on the twentieth day of epidemic in Italy there were 3 confirmed cases, while in Brazil, also on the twentieth day, 291 cases were registered, according to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Besides that, when comparing the italian population, which has more than 60 million people, with the brazilian population, around 210 million people, it is deduced that the number of affected people in Brazil will be even higher if the measures of prevention and social isolation recommended by the government are not respected by the people.

Despite the recommendation of social isolation, the health professionals cannot be released from their services. Therefore, they are more exposed to Covid-19. For this reason, these professionals must be supported with the minimum working conditions, which involve the provision of personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, apron, eye or face protector), alcohol gel and liquid soap, so that they can protect their health when assisting patients infected with Covid-19.

In addition to that, measures to control transmission in the assistance environment must be taken, such as hand hygiene before and after touching the patient and surfaces close to the patient, desinfecting equipment and cleaning the environment with sodium hypochlorite.

Moreover, it is up to the population to be aware of remaining in social isolation and to seek health care first by telephone, to obtain the necessary guidance about the service that they should seek according to the symptoms they present. This attitude aims to avoid the overcrowding and overload of the health service, which is responsible for increasing the transmission of the virus and and exposing the population and health professionals to infection.

All things considered, it is extremely important that the population be conscious of the real need of respect the basic recommendations that are being disseminated at all times by social media, which involve hand hygiene and social isolation. In addition, the health professionals must take the above precautions to prevent the spread of infection and, thus, contain the viral transmission in a different and more efficient way than in Italy, since if these measures are taken early, it increases the chance of success in stabilizing the disease in Brazil.

References:

  1. ALVES, Gabriel. (2020). Twentieth day of coronavirus in Brazil is worse than in Italy. Taken from: (https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/equilibrioesaude/2020/03/vigesimo-dia-de-coronavirus-no-brasil-e-pior-que-o-da-italia.shtml, accessed on 21 March 2020);
  2. Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. (2020). Population of Brazil. Taken from: (https://www.ibge.gov.br/apps/populacao/projecao/box_popclock.php, accessed on 21 March 2020);
  3. Brazilian Institute for Patient Safety, (2020). COVID-19 – In times of a pandemic, health professionals must be protected. Taken from: (https://www.segurancadopaciente.com.br/protocolo-diretrizes/covid-19-em-momentos-de-pandemia-e-preciso-proteger-os-profissionais-da-saude/, accessed on 21 March 2020).
  4. Brazilian Society of Family and Community Medicine. (2020). As health professionals, they must protect themselves from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Taken from: (https://www.sbmfc.org.br/noticias/profissionais-de-saude-e-corona-virus/, accessed on 21 March 2020);
  5. GODOY, Marcelo. (2020). Italy creates list of doctors killed in the coronavirus war. Taken from: (https://internacional.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,italia-cria-lista-de-medicos-mortos-na-guerra-ao-coronavirus,70003241386, accessed on 21 March 2020);
  6. Ministry of Health. (2020). New Coronavirus: Assistance to people with suspected infection with the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in primary care. Taken from: (https://egestorab.saude.gov.br/image/?file=20200210_N_EmktCoronaVirusPopV2_9220990263189084795.pdf, accessed on: 21 March 2020)

About the author

Bruna Giaretta Ventorin is 21 years old medical student from Unicesumar – Brazil. She is the LPRD (Local Publications and Research Director) of the IFMSA Brazil in Unicesumar and vice president of the Angiology and Vascular Surgery Academic League (LAMACIV). She participates in the Intensive Care Medicine League (LAMIM) and in the Academic League of vulnerable populations health.

Amanda Raminelli Morceli is a 22 years old medical student from Unicesumar,
Brazil. She is a president of the League of Angiology and Vascular Surgery
(LAMACIV) and a member of the board of the General Surgery and
Anesthesiology league (LACGAM). She is also in the academic league of
vulnerable populations health and a member of the scientific research nucleus,
from IFSMA Brasil Unicesumar.

 

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