Vietnam’s health workers have been grappled with life-threatening challenges to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who have taken the Hippocratic Oath, however, once the protective clothing is put on, they show no sign of confusion, instead, devoting themselves to taking care of patients.
The story of a “F1 doctor”
As of March 21, after more than two months battling the pandemic, Vietnamese health workers had successfully treated 17 patients.
Health workers are frontline soldiers, as well as the most vulnerable in the fight against the pandemic.
“The first thing I did when I came to the quarantine facility is to remove and put away my wristwatch to refrain from looking at the time, which would make me impatient. After joining daily online consultations with colleagues, I tried fixing things that are temporarily out of order, the more difficult the better,” said Nguyen Quoc Hung, Director of the QuangNinh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital who is also Director of Hospital No.2 which specialises in COVID-19 treatment in the prvince.
In this long-term fight, he said that health workers sent to the two hospitals specialising in COVID-19 always stand ready to do their jobs.
Starting from March 8, Hung began his 14-day quarantine at an area in the hospital zoned off for those who had direct contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients, being referred to as ‘F1’.
Hung had close contact with four foreign patients on flight VN0054 from London to NoiBai International Airport on March 2.
On March 13, patient no. 52, who boarded a flight returning from London four days ago, was admitted to the hospital.
After more than ten days of staying in quarantine at the hospital, the 59-year-old doctor said that he has never slept after 6:00 in the morning and rarely had two consecutive days off during 35 years of working as a doctor.
Those two weeks were his time to “live slowly”. He still provided guidance for other staff members and joined online medical consultations for COVID-19 patients.
“We understand that people put their trust in us, especially in the time of the pandemic, which is the happiest thing for health workers,” Hung said.
Meanwhile, Director of the Hanoi Medical University (HMU) Prof. Ta Thanh Van said the university had envisioned a scenario in which its medical staff and students tested positive with the coronavirus. It wouldn’t be a surprise as they are just normal people, he explained.
Medical students ready to enter the fray
In addition to health workers, medical students are fighting on the frontlines.
Since the pandemic broke out, HMU students have taken part in various activities to support the health sector.
Lecturers and students of the HMU have been called on to join campaigns to tackle the pandemic in the city, as per the request of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Hanoi Department of Health.
As many as 124 senior students studying preventive medicine volunteered to join the campaigns. Health workers of the HMU and its affiliate hospital have worked at the Noi Bai International Airport until midnight to take samples.
“Medical students directly joining the fight against the pandemic is a normal issue. If the situation worsens, we are willing to send more post-graduate students and resident physicians of different faculties. They are all ready to join the fight,” Van affirmed.
The HMU already devised plans to cope with the situation, he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic is projected to grow ever more complicatedly in the time to come. Despite obstacles and danger, health workers are always up for their tasks with absolute determination. What they need most is support from the public, to help them overcome hardships in this tough fight./.
The Ministry of Health on March 20 announced the first two medical workers in Vietnam had contracted the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
They were caregivers at the centre for tropical diseases at the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.
According to the municipal People’s Committee, 200 or more people that had contact with the two cases tested negative with COVID-19.
As of March 21, Vietnam had confirmed 91 infections, with 17 recoveries and no deaths.