Oman’s unsung heroes: teamwork helped control COVID-19

Oman Tuesday 23/November/2021 17:25 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Teamwork from the entire healthcare sector in Oman helped rein in the spread of COVID-19 in the country, a senior doctor at the COVID-19 field hospital has said.

Assistant Director Dr Khalid Rashid Al Balushi, of the COVID-19 field hospital, said that the healthcare staff at the hospital battled valiantly for about a year to treat patients who had been infected with the virus, with many of them working to the point of exhaustion.

“We had divided in the hospital into the Red and Green zones, and as you are aware, when you are near a patient, you need to put on all of your PPE (personal protective equipment,” he said. “That is why the challenges for the staff were manifold: they did work hard, but became exhausted over time, because working for long hours with full PPE was not easy.

“We had many challenges, but thanks to God that we made it through and were able to oversee every step of health and safety, as well as patient wellbeing in this place,” added the doctor. “During the pandemic, working with COVID, as everyone knows, is not easy. You have to have a full set of personal protective equipment for each person.”

The biggest challenge, however, was finding a suitable location in a fast-shrinking window to set up the field hospital. The idea for the COVID field came up in July 2020, when the first plans were drawn up, and the facility received its first patient on the 6th of October.

“The field hospital was a challenge for| the Ministry of Health, because our location was not constructed as a hospital,” he admitted. “There were a lot of things we needed to modify to make this a suitable healthcare institution, so that we could take care of COVID patients.”

Another factor that took its toll on the medical staff at the hospital were the anguish they went through while treating a friend or relative infected with the disease who needed urgent care

“When you talk about COVID patients, it is natural to get attached to some of them: many are our relatives or friends, but sometimes, we could not do anything for them,” explained Al Balushi. “That is a sad story for us: we lost many of friends and family members. These were the main challenges we faced for over a year, but today, thanks to the Almighty that we are facing more relaxed conditions.

“We now have zero patients at the field hospital, and by the grace of God, we are going back to normal. But I remember a time, during the peak of the pandemic in Oman, that we had reached more than 100 percent occupancy. Patients were waiting for more beds to be brought here from other health centres.”

He went on to say: “That was a very tough time for us, but here, I would like to salute our healthcare workers, the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Health, who has done a great job controlling the pandemic. We have controlled COVID, but still need to live in a good environment. We must be careful and protect ourselves and our families.”

“My friends, please remember to continue to put on your masks, and continue to take the measures required to stay safe.”