On International Nurses Day, here are some untold, dispiriting stories of struggle and stigma around health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

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On International Nurses Day, here are some untold, dispiriting stories of struggle and stigma around health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Bengaluru: Doctors and nurses from Vanivilas hospital coming out from the hospital premises to protest against Vanivilas administration for not providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, in Bengaluru on May 9, 2020IANS
  • This International Nurse Day, health workers share their experience to fight coronavirus with Business Insider.
  • Every health worker in India is fighting multiple issues in India ranging from taboo to assault.
  • Business Insider spoke to some of the nurses who have been frontline workers in dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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“The most disturbing experience during this pandemic has been the reaction of the people towards us. People think we are the one spreading the disease,” Rakhi Yadav , a 29 year old nurse at AIIMS told Business Insider. Rakhi is one of the many nurses who seek mental support from the people.

On World Nurses Day this year, the struggles of health workers in India, who are fighting the deadly coronavirus pandemic, are made worse by the stigma attached to their profession.

Yadav said people change their path when they see her coming back from office. Moreover, one of her friends from work also had to change her residence during the pandemic.
On International Nurses Day, here are some untold, dispiriting stories of struggle and stigma around health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Rakhi Yadav
Rakhi Yadav

Yadav recently contracted the virus from one of the patients and when she got infected people thought she was the one spreading the virus and purposely hid the disease.“People have to realise that we are not the virus neither we are spreading it. We are the one on the front line; we are there for them, not against them,” Rakhi said.

Another nurse Masih, who works at a private hospital in Gurugram, is worried about the rising number of assaults against health workers in India. When she visits a grocery shop they ask her to not to come or stand a little away from the shop.

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Every health worker in India is fighting multiple issues in India ranging from taboo to assault but isn’t stopping them from going beyond their call of duty. In Karnataka, a nine-month pregnant nurse Roopa Praveen Rao continues to serve coronavirus patients. “The taluk hospital is surrounded by many villages, people need our service. My seniors had asked me to take leave but I want to serve people. I work six hours a day,” she told ANI.


Dr Mani Shankar Madhav, a Chief Medical Officer at a private hospital, returned to his home in Dwarka after a month of being on Covid-19 duty as well as quarantine. But as he set home, the society started discriminating against him – refusing him to touch anything or use the lift, turning around if they saw him walking. Dr. Madhav was on Covid-19 duty in March but the harassment from the society continued until much later.

On International Nurses Day, here are some untold, dispiriting stories of struggle and stigma around health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Oyo


He tweeted out his story to the Delhi Chief Minister, which was then covered by national media outlets. On Saturday (May 9), India's largest hotel chain, OYO, offered a room to the doctor and his pet dog Lucy under its ‘Donate a night’ initiative, where he is currently staying.

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