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Do you think wearing the PPE is fascinating?

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Choudhary Hari
Scientist at ICMR - Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar

Since the person after wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) kits look fascinating to others, the lesser known fact is the real struggle experienced by the one who has worn the PPE. It serves the purpose of safeguarding health workers from coronavirus but their struggle is a lot. It takes about 25-30 minutes to wear/remove it and they cannot even remove it in between work hours for the reason that it cant be used again or the chance of catching the virus. Hence, even if they are dehydrated, have skin problems, have period problems, they choose to wear the kits.

Within a span of last 3-4 months, the manufacturing of PPE kits reached from zero to 4.5 lakhs per day in India and over 600 domestic companies are being certified to manufacture the PPEs. Simultaneously the consumption of PPE kits is also increasing to fight the COVID-19. At a time when there were very few laboratories functional for the testing of COVID in India, now the number of laboratories has reached to 1300 plus for performing the testing through different methods.

Now PPE kits are not just used in the testing laboratories but it’s been used by the doctors, nurses, hospital security personnel’s, housekeeping staff of the COVID care centre’s and hospitals. Other than this there are various companies that are functional and are in threat of getting exposed so even they are making their employees to wear PPE when on duty.

We, as a collective society have a role to play. There are many perspectives to this. Firstly, we can begin to atleast empathize with the people who have been wearing the PPEs for serving the country during this pandemic. Imagine a situation when you can’t even go to a washroom because of the PPE kit and have to control until you finish your work. Its not an easy job.

Another perspective to imagine is when due to the kit, one is sweating profusely and is drained in it and can’t even get fresh air as the hours of duty still remains. In such drastic situations, we expect the person to work with effective quality or with full presence of mind. The condition of a  person in a PPE kit is far worse than that of a farmer who is working in land on a summer day but still his body gets the open air while sweating. The least we can do is be sensitive and understanding towards them.

Since we all are humans and they are fighting for everyone’s safety, so while we are pointing fingers at the government for various reasons, we may also need to think of the larger goal here, which is to make the health workers free from wearing the PPE kits. We can do this by staying at home, following the social distancing norms, by washing hands frequently and other suggestive measures to stop the spread of COVID in our country.

What is PPE? According to the World Health Organization, the protective equipment consists of garments placed to protect health care workers or any other person to get infected. These usually consist of standard precautions: gloved mask, gowns. If it is blood or airborne high infection, will include: Face protection, goggles and mask or face shield, gloves, gown or coverall, head cover, rubber boots.

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Choudhary Hari
Scientist at ICMR - Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar

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