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Envisaging the rights and responsibilities of healthcare professionals in the containment of the coronavirus disease-2019 outbreak


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission04-Mar-2020
Date of Decision10-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance23-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava,
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_83_20

  Abstract 


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has taken the world by storm and has made each and every government to introspect about their preparedness and the response action plan. Amidst all the unknown epidemiological attributes of the novel virus, the health care professionals have been at the forefront dealing with infectious cases to save their lives by compromising their own safety. In order to ensure that health professionals actively participate in the process of health care, it is their right to have access to all standard preventive & protective measures. To conclude, in the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus disease, the efforts of the health care professionals will be the real factor in improving the survival chances of thousands of the affected patients. However, considering the fact that they are working in high-risk settings, it is the responsibility of the health administrators to safeguard the health and wellbeing of health professionals.

Keywords: COVID-19 outbreak, Health care professionals, World Health Organization



How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Envisaging the rights and responsibilities of healthcare professionals in the containment of the coronavirus disease-2019 outbreak. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Apr 12]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=310605




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease2019 outbreak has taken the world by storm and has made each and every government to introspect about their preparedness and the response action plan.[1] This is quite evident considering the estimates which revealed that between March 2 and 3, 2020, alone, 1922 new cases were reported, which took the cumulative toll to 90,870 cases.[1] Moreover, 2946 diseasespecific deaths have been reported on the global scale.[1] It is quite an alarming estimate that 10,566 cases have been detected outside China and the number is increasing at a very fast rate.[1] Based on the epidemiological trends and the known facts about the earlier detected similar viruses, airborne droplet has been recognized as the most predominant form of the transmission of the virus.[2] However, still a lot of research needs to be done to conclusively understand about the other potential modes of disease transmission and disease dynamics.[2]

Covid-19 and health professionals

Amid all this uncertainty, the healthcare professionals have been at the forefront dealing with infectious cases to save their lives by compromising their own safety.[3] In fact, the analysis of the death rates among healthcare personnel has revealed a casefatality rate of 0.3%, which is a definite indicator that healthcare professionals are one among the vulnerable groups.[4] Apart from being exposed to the causative virus, the healthcare professionals have to also deal with the challenges of prolonged working timings, fatigue, stigma from other sections of the community, psychological stress, burnout, etc.[3]

Rights of health professionals

To ensure that health professionals actively participate in the process of healthcare, it is their right to have access to all standard preventive and protective measures (such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and goggle), they should be retrained in various dimensions of infection prevention and control (viz., usage and disposal of personal protective equipment, triage of patients, risk assessment, and treatment) and be appraised about all the recent developments in the disease prevention and control.[3]

In addition, the health professionals not only should be constantly supported and counseled to extend support to the family members of the affected but also should be encouraged to stick to prescribed working hours and report to the health authorities, if they become symptomatic. At the same time, it is their right to not to join the workplace if they are themselves suffering from ill health, and thus, there is a definite risk to life. Further, all the health consequences, including development of complications or in worst cases, death, should be acknowledged as an occupational hazard and they have to be compensated, rehabilitated, or healthcare should be extended, depending on the specific needs.[2],[3]

Responsibilities of health professionals

As far as the roles and responsibilities of the health professionals are concerned, it is expected that they should adhere to the standard safety and health procedures without exposing other persons to the potential hazards.[3],[5] In addition, they have to comply with the prescribed protocol for disease reporting, risk assessment, triage, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, and declaring a person cured of the infection.[3],[5] Further, they are expected to maintain confidentiality, counsel patients about infection prevention and control measures, and deal with patients with utmost respect compassion and should not encourage discrimination. Moreover, they have to monitor themselves for the appearance of symptoms and approach health authorities at the earliest, if they become symptomatic.[3]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, in the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease, the efforts of the healthcare professionals will be the real factor in improving the survival chances of thousands of the affected patients. However, considering the fact that they are working in highrisk settings, it is the responsibility of the health administrators to safeguard the health and wellbeing of health professionals.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 43. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200303-sitrep-43-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=2c21c09c_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 04].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease. (COVID-19) Outbreak: Rights, Roles and Responsibilities of Health Workers, Including Key Considerations for Occupational Safety and Health. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
The Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team. The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19)-China, 2020. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 2020;41:145-51.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Home Care for Patients with Suspected Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) Infection Presenting with Mild Symptoms and Management of Contacts - Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

 
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