The government’s WeCare Initiative is starting a mental health programme for doctors and paramedics on the frontline of the fight against the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said.
“We need to give moral, psychological, psycho-social support to doctors,” he said in a media briefing on Saturday, calling it a “dangerous responsibility”.
Mirza said that paramedics and health workers tending to coronavirus patients in intensive care units had a higher chance of getting infected. “It is, therefore, very important to give them moral support.”
Not just them, but assuring their families that there’s someone looking out for them is also important, the PM’s aide pointed out.
“Another problem is of anxiety,” he said, adding that when doctors see their colleagues getting infected and dying, it brings their morale down.
Mirza assured that compared to other countries, the rate of health workers getting infected in Pakistan was less. “Not more than 3% doctors are infected here,” he said.
“Under WeCare, we are starting a mental health support programme for doctors today [Saturday,],” Mirza announced. It will start from PIMS and ICT doctors. A helpline has already been established.
Talking about the shortage of personal protective equipment, he said that government was personally providing gear to more than 450 hospitals on a weekly basis.
“The shortage is because hospitals are not properly managing and distributing the resources given to them by the government,” he said.
Mirza also called the irrational use of these equipment another reason for the shortage.