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I feel strongly that the presence of COVID 19 has changed everything about the way we live our lives.

World over, hospital communities are devising ways of control and containment of this deadly virus. Systems that we envied, and wished to be like were overwhelmed at a time. They are now devising ways of a “new normal” life in the face of this pandemic, especially, at this time there are insinuations that we are going to live with the virus for some time more. To some, it has come to stay, and it sounds like a stating the obvious.

It will be foolhardy for us to pretend that all is well, and that we have overcome the virus and in the process, throw caution to the wind.

We have to define our own realities. These realities must be based on time proven facts.

  1. There is a virus SARS CoV 2, which causes Covid-19
  2. The virus has killed many persons, including healthworkers, all over the world.
  3. The virus can be transmitted from person to person, especially, when there is a breach in one or or more of the infection prevention and control (IPC) points.
  4. There are few known predictors of poor outcomes after infection, but no one knows with certainty, who is going to have a fatal outcome, irrespective of age, gender, or other morbidities.

We cannot just jump into the “old normal”, as if nothing happened, without due consideration of our basic safety measures.

Things have really changed!

Even in the old “normal” some people are hoping to return to, we are hugely disadvantaged, here in our clinics.

  1. Pitiable GOPC complex.
  2. Chocking consulting cubicles
  3. Eclectic power supply.
  4. Poor running water.
  5. Poor crowd control and flow.
  6. Poor scheduling and follow-up processes.
  7. Poor safety devises and PPE supply.

The list is endless, and needless to be overstressed.

We shouldn’t consider going back to the “old normal” without giving some of these problems a deeper thought, let alone going into the “new normal” without sorting out the problem of the “old normal”.

If we are to embrace the sad reality that the deadly virus has come to stay, then we must also be prepared to adjust to the changes that the virus has shoved us into.

While compelling the authorities to fix the “old abnormalities ” as above, we should also ensure that use of risk-matched protective devises, physical distancing, (between patients, betweenn patients and health workers) and hand hygiene are sine qua-non, in subsequent encounter with patients.

To this end, as Family phyaicians, we should be on the fore front to advocate for electronic medical records, and Teleconsultation. This is not rocket science!. It has been shown to be safer, has wider coverage, and many other benefits.This must be communicated to the management and the patients, as part of the new normal. Some centres are already into it.

This “new normal” is not a time to be careless, or heroic, it is a time to protect oneself and family, while living to our responsibilities as doctors.

We should not deliberately make ourselves vulnerable, or make others vulnerable.

Let’s not all pretend that all is well, the truth is that all is not well! Mortality is less than 5% is for the unaffected, for the affected, it is 100%.

Caution is the word.

Those going to wars must be prepared, and guarded.

Dike, Victor O.
A concerned doctor, and a Healthcare Advocate.

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