COVID-19 has affected 15 million people across the globe, and meanwhile, over 600,000 deaths are associated with it. Even my father, having some pre-conditions, passed away because of it.
The healthcare systems and economies of more than 200 countries have been severely affected, also impacting healthcare workers both physically and psychologically. Since they are at the frontline taking care of infected patients, they are also the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Moreover, alarmingly high patient flows, stressful work conditions, lack of proper protective equipment (PPE), staff shortages, and limited resources have put extra pressure on them. One cannot thank them enough as they continue to cope and forge ahead, no matter what the challenges and the hurdles.
The heroism of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic begins with Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, who was the first one to alert Chinese authorities of COVID-19 and who died six weeks later of the same disease. Today, millions of healthcare workers are out there, providing care for patients with COVID-19 and risking their lives.
This issue is dedicated to all these Superheroes. Our goal is to honour each one of them and salute their courage, commitment and bravery. We present some amazing stories, which could be the stories of many others out there.
Adaora Okoli, an internal medicine resident physician shares her experience of dealing with the pandemic in the U.S. Sabine Torgler, a staff nurse who got infected with COVID-19 discusses her campaign for PPE delivery. Prof. Jonathan McNulty talks about the role of radiographers on the frontline. Valarie Martin, facility director of a care home shares the story of a 47-day lockdown of staff and residents.
Elikem Tamklo, Managing Director of Nyaho Medical Centre in Ghana talks about the hardships in his region. Lloyd Vincent, Co-founder of Africa Health Network shares the challenges they faced when managing the COVID-19 pandemic in East Africa. Svetlana Piliavsky conveys how COVID-19 is NOT regular flu and requests people to take this virus seriously. Prof. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber and Regina Lee highlight the many contributions of healthcare workers who are working behind the scenes.
Patient Safety Foundation Movement talks to a nurse in the U.S. who outlines major problems in nursing care exacerbated by the pandemic, and Amalia Hatziyianni discusses the meaning of virtue in the face of a crisis. Sunita Dube, Founder/Chairperson of MedScape India, discusses the ‘We Doctors ‘campaign while Prof. Stefan Heinemann encourages all of us to become superheroes and do our part in this battle against COVID-19.
This issue is not about statistics, vaccines, clinical characteristics of COVID-19 or its treatment strategies. This issue is all about our healthcare heroes who are out there, putting their lives on the line and who continue to struggle with the challenges that COVID-19 presents every single day. We salute them. We honour them. We respect them.