Friday, October 2 2020

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“Silent soldiers” in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic

Update: April, 11/2020 - 09:00

 

Healthcare workers at the HCM CIty Centre for Disease Control are ready for tracing journey of infected patient. — Photo tienphong.vn

HCM CITY — Today is another busy day for healthcare workers at the HCM City Centre for Disease Control (HCDC).

They have become front line soldiers in the battle against COVID-19.

Trương Thị Thanh Lan, 29, a medical worker at the infectious disease prevention unit at HCDC, carefully checks her preventive clothes and mask and leaves her lunch unfinished as she heads off to deal with a new case.

Lan takes responsibility for investigating patients' 14-day travel and contact history.

"We often visit patients to collect accurate information from them instead of talking to them by phone so we can give psychological support if they start to panic," Lan said.

"The risk of the pandemic spreading in the community is much more limited if the patient can provide us with as much accurate information as possible."

Despite working in infectious disease prevention for seven years, the young health worker said she had never been so stressed at work before.

"Everything is different. All of us have to work harder and even around the clock if required," she said.

All staff have been drafted to join verification and epidemiological investigation teams.

Huỳnh Thị Hoài Thương, 27, a medical doctor from the Health Education Communication Faculty, has just finished her role as part of a monitoring team at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport where she quickly became a "new soldier" in the investigation team.

“My job is focusing on communication and propaganda activities. I felt a little worried when I was assigned the new task, especially due to the high risk of infection," Thương told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

"After a training course, I was ready to go anywhere."

"The HCDC's anti-epidemic monitoring team works in ten groups of three. We have to quickly establish the patients' travel and contact history and classify who needs to be in quarantine or self-observation at home," said head of the Health Education Communication Faculty Đặng Văn Tài, who has just been appointed as head of the anti-pandemic monitoring team.

Remembering patient 150, Tài said it took a lot of time to clarify the patient's movements because he had travelled to many places and had contact with a lot of people.

Thương said she also could not forget the outbreak at District 2's Buddha Bar which has been identified as the source of multiple COVID-19 infections in HCM City.

Hundreds of workers from specialised forces were mobilised to trace cases of the novel coronavirus.

"It was an extremely hard time for us. We all had to work with local health officers to quickly stop transmissions. We had to find everyone, even though they were scattered across the city," Thương said.

"Sometimes we didn't wrap up until midnight. I felt so tired when I got home and I just wanted to sleep and recharge my batteries for the next day's battle."

Previously, their job was to monitor epidemics such as measles, dengue fever and rabies in the city. Their work has increased many times since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The days are long, and many are working overtime, but healthcare workers across the country are using all of their strength to protect the community against the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It sounds simple, but sometimes it can take more than a day to trace a close contact of a positive case and put them into isolation.

"We have to review the whole thing from the beginning if there are any errors such as a name or phone number," said Thanh Lan, a health officer from HCDC.

"We have to find them to keep the community safe from the disease.

"We are not the police. Residents and tourists are not criminals, so we cannot force them. At the time, we have to be soft to gain their co-operation," Lan said.

As most people return home after a long working day, health workers at the disease control centre sit patiently, waiting for the results of screening tests.

Everyone is doing their best and is ready to respond to any situation.

They all say they are not afraid of the disease because they know how to prevent it.

Head of anti-epidemic monitoring team Tài added:“Each of us is equipped with a backpack with all kinds of masks, clothing, gloves and disinfectant.

"Although we are not doctors we can protect people's health. We ask the community to raise awareness of coronavirus prevention and make true health declarations.". — VNS

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