A tribute to frontliners

Pictures of frontliners risking their lives while battling the Covid-19 pandemic just breaks my heart.

Imagine the heat when one dons the full personal protective equipment (PPE) suits.

Sweat builds up, the face shield becomes foggy and one can hardly see beyond a few footsteps.

Now imagine having to do that in the rain or while walking on slippery stilt bridges that are about to give way at dilapidated squatter homes.

This is just one of the very many realities frontliners face to keep everyone safe while performing their duties.

Sabah is vast and heterogeneous that such slippery and dilapidated conditions are common in water villages and squatter dwellings found in major towns or along the coast.

The communities residing in the deep interiors can only be reached by 4×4 vehicles that brave untarred muddy roads and landslips. These are among the real barriers in delivering healthcare.

Also, certain villages are only reachable by boats followed by hours of trekking through Borneo’s thick jungle. And there are certain places that are only accessible by helicopters.

Even between district towns which have smaller hospitals and bigger towns like Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan and Lahad Datu, it sometimes takes hours to transport patients.

If there are heavy rains or landslides, the roads may totally be unpassable and ambulances with sick patients will experience major transport barriers.

Sometimes data doesn’t tell the whole picture and sometimes data may not mean anything when faced with the realities and harshness the frontliners have to face.

The infected child in front of you fighting for his or her life, the exhaustion, fear and mental strain one goes through after non-stop admissions, emergency resuscitation or the heartbreaking choices of what’s available to you to help the many patients that desperately need treatment are all too real that figures offer no comfort in these moments of desperation.

Many frontliners do all these without a word of complaint, giving everything they have every single day to the point of exhaustion – picking themselves up the very next day and doing it all over again.

Many are silent doers, doing the task they are entrusted with only one objective in mind – to fight the pandemic and to fight for a better day for all.

So when there are cries of help, cries of desperation and cries of their spirits and morality sipping away, help must be abundantly offered.

Bottlenecks must be widened. Bureaucratic red tapes must be dismantled. The supply chain must be put into overdrive and maximum support must be provided.

I salute all those in the line of fire on the battlefields every day and I hope everyone who is not in their shoes will do their part to make their shoes a little lighter, a little more comforting and a little stronger.

Empathy and understanding is the key to fighting Covid-19. We can overcome this pandemic by helping each other.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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