Oman’s Unsung Heroes: Protection and precaution helped us hold the line against COVID-19

Oman Friday 19/November/2021 13:14 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: A senior doctor at a leading hospital in Oman has said that proper training, awareness on the use of personal protective equipment, and infection protection protocols helped protect himself and his colleagues from infection during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Rajeev Chatanath, a specialist in internal medicine at NMC Hospital Ghubra, said a dedicated set of medical professionals, including general practitioners, internists, pulmonologists, and nurses, as well as support staff as well as physiotherapists, had been set up to care for COVID patients at the start of the pandemic.

“We set up the COVID ward pretty early during the pandemic,” he said, “We were admitting patients from other hospital around us that had been referred to our teams, as well as those battling COVID outside Muscat. Our COVID ward was running from the middle of April 2020. I was taking care of patients admitted to the COVID ward and COVID ICU.”

Chatanath admitted that the hospital did have a lot of challenges initially. Like the rest of the world, they too were also not prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude, and had to put infection control procedures in place, train staff on the use of personal protective equipment, and install good triage protocols, as there was a lot of demand for beds on the COVID ward.

“There was definitely a fear of getting infected among healthcare workers, but due to proper training, and the awareness of PPE kits, we could overcome this situation, and everyone became more confident as the pandemic progressed,” he admitted. “All of us became quickly adjusted to the COVID-related situation.”

The efforts of the Ministry of Health to vaccinate health workers as soon as vaccines became available really boosted their confidence.

“It is a great pleasure for us to see a COVID patient discharged from the hospital and go home, when he had been brought in with pneumonia,” revealed Chatanath. “Recently, I had a video call with a COVID survivor. It was a great pleasure to talk to her child, and I felt very happy when she expressed her gratitude.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Supreme Committee and the Ministry of Health, we have been able to achieve control over the pandemic relatively early, compared to some other countries. Let us all be responsible for our own health, let us all get vaccinated, and observe the health recommendations put down by the authorities, so that we avoid another wave of the pandemic.”