While others are relaxing at home, having fun with their families, or even working from home due to compliance with the Movement Control Order (MCO), this task force is like being on the ‘battlefield’. They had to fight an ‘enemy’ that cannot be seen by the naked eye, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. There was a risk of contracting this deadly virus, but their spirit remain strong to provide the best treatment to Covid-19 patients.
A large number of front-line workers face symptoms of extreme stress or ‘burnout’ due to having to work with more than 100 percent commitment for a long period of time. Now, the problem of COVID-19 is so critical and front-line workers have to deal with the public the most during the pandemic and it turns out to be COVID-19 affects mental health problems such as stress, in addition to anxiety and depression.
This situation has resulted in physical and mental fatigue that can disrupt the concentration and productivity of front-line workers in providing services to the community. The lack of support and fear of death and morbidity are contributors to the mental health problems of front-line workers. The status of this group is directly involved with diagnosis, treatment and care of patients are also contributing factors to their psychological problems.
Among the factors that cause burnout among health workers are:
- high workload
- the uncertainty of the long duration of the pandemic
- exchange and adaptation process to various standard operating procedures (SOP)
- career plans are disrupted
- difficulty balancing family and career
Therefore, protecting frontline workers by providing social, emotional and religious support is a priority where it can improve their quality of life. They need to be protected from the point of view of personal safety.
Front-line workers are advised to take self-care measures to avoid burnout and create a healthy and cheerful work culture as follows:
- Work effectively as a team to lighten the workload
- Always do a self-assessment to detect early signs of burnout
- Willing to share and listen to views and advice in case of problems
- Get enough rest and practice a balanced diet
The physical and mental health of front-line workers needs attention. Many facilities are provided by the government for them in parallel with the great sacrifices made during COVID-19. They also need to ensure emotional health is maintained by getting social support in addition to receiving appropriate mental health services.
In appreciation of the hard and relentless work of health workers and frontline members dealing with the spread of COVID-19, let’s all play our respective roles. Your sacrifices are priceless. Thank you Frontliners. You are national heroes and we are so proud of you all!