The impact of COVID epidemic from a health care worker perspective

Health care workers are most at risk in this pandemic. Every day, they struggle to protect their patients, their communities, and themselves from the coronavirus, sometimes without the appropriate personal protective equipment.

“Going to work during this lockdown has been really hectic, we don’t know when a Covid-19 patient will walk in for TB screening, you know the symptoms are similar, and our face masks are depleted plus we can’t get taxi or Keke (tricycle) that can take us to and from work at a reasonable price, we just want this pandemic to be over”

 Says Ofon, a TB screening officer in Akwa Ibom. 

                 Ofon at work

Self-quarantine and social isolation have been the preventive measure all Nigerians observe to avoid even a chance encounter with someone or something carrying Covid-19, health care professionals willingly expose themselves to the pandemic every day not minding the threat to their own well-being, but many are concerned about transferring that risk—and, potentially, the novel coronavirus itself—to those around them: their coworkers and patients but also the families and friends waiting for them at home.  

A drug-resistant TB survivor and currently a screening officer with KNCV Nigeria in Gboko, Benue State, who chose to remain anonymous, shared her experience working with patients during this Covid-19 pandemic. 

“As a DRTB survivor, I know what it means to be sick with the disease, so I use my experience with TB to encourage people in my community to get tested. Most of them are scared to come in for tests due to the similarities between TB and Coronavirus, she says, “Although we have face masks and gloves to protect ourselves, but it is not enough. On my own, I make sure I drink hot or lukewarm water everyday” 

This is her way of protecting herself from contracting COVID-19.

KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, with support from USAID, is supporting comprehensive TB care and treatment services in 14 states in Nigeria. Implementation of our key intervention, the TB surge, targets volunteer staff as frontline care providers to offer TB screening, identify presumptive, and ensure referral for diagnostic evaluation and treatment within high volume health facilities.