06/20/2020, 10.50
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Delhi, 'the Covid warriors', the nurses, exhausted from service and at risk of depression

by Biju Veticad

Emigration has led to a shortage of health workers in India. At least 700 thousand Indian nurses work abroad. Long hours without rest breaks and lack of security. In Maharashtra and Delhi, staff treat Covid-19 patients without protective masks. In recent months, 30 doctors and six nurses have died from coronavirus.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – They have been called "Covid warriors", the "angels of mercy" and they are the heroes of our time. They are the nurses who, together with doctors and other paramedical staff, have risked their own lives.

Their number in India is not high: many of them have emigrated to other countries, from Canada to Australia. According to 2018 statistics, at least 700 thousand Indian nurses and nurses work abroad.

Despite the scarcity of medical personnel, the coronavirus emergency has prompted the Indian government to send doctors to the Emirates (photo 2) and health units to the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles. Nurses from different parts of India have been sent to highly populated places such as Mumbai, at the request of the government of Maharashtra.

Now, however, difficulties and complaints are emerging because health workers are suffering from overwork and exhaustion. Especially in the Covid-19 care departments, the shifts are exhausting, without rest and without regard for their own safety. The Nurses Association in India (Una, United Nurses Association) had to step in. Mr. Jasminsha, president of the UNA, tells AsiaNews that in too many hospitals, the sick are treated without proper protection. Covid patients are being cared for in Maharashtra and Delhi without even surgical masks.

Two days ago the Supreme Court upheld the nurses' complaint and asked the central government for explanations. It should be remembered that on March 22, before declaring the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited all Indians to express their gratitude to the health personnel by clapping their hands, ringing bells, beating dishes and pans. But after three months of heavy and overtime work, staff feel the need for a more peaceful working style. In many cases, more than physical fatigue, nurses suffer from depression caused by the extreme difficulties they face at work.

There is a list of doctors and nurses who died from Covid-19. At the end of May, 30 doctors and six nurses had died. To date, there are 395,000 coronavirus positive cases in India and nearly 13,000 deaths.

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