Doctors form an essential part of an effective response to the covid-19 pandemic. They have got critical roles in diagnosis, containment and treatment and their commitment to treat in spite of increased personal risks is essential for a successful public health response. Frontline workers have high work volume, personal risk and pressure from society to meet extraordinary demands for healthcare.The first covid case in our country was on 23rd January in a 32 year old man who had returned from China on 9th January.
The first covid-19 death in Nepal was a 29 year old postnatal woman from Sindhupalchowk on 14th May. Last year only 4% of total infections were children. This was because of prolonged lockdown, school closure and other restrictive measures.However, in second wave of the pandemic, the virus has been detected in those under 19 also.The start of in person classes in schools is the main reason for children getting infected more this time.
According to Health Ministry 3,227 children tested positive for coronavirus throughout the country. This data was of up to 21st April 2021.Being a pediatrician and a mother I would like to consider the role of a pediatrician as well as emotion of a mother during this covid-19 pandemic. My first emotional breakdown during coronavirus pandemic had nothing to do with being a front liner. I was going to take the second shot of my vaccine and my 7 year old son asked me if he could come with me and get vaccinated. I realized after weeks of online classes and hearing all the shopping malls, playgrounds, library are closed, he thought he could go to these places if he also gets vaccinated. I became so sad seeing how much my 7 year old bright and adventurous boy missed the world around him.
As a pediatrician I have treated many children, some covid positive and mostly negative. And by Gods grace all of them recovered. I have seen mothers squeeze in visits with their hospitalized children between shifts at work, forced to sacrifice time. Sitting with the parents and the families, we doctors learn how to set aside our personal pain when we need to, allowing our emotional energy toward the parents we need most. In the beginning it’s a bit difficult but with each day that passes in our new-normal reality. We began to adapt to the ongoing loss of life.
Now its already May and I think of my cousins, friends almost constantly.When will my son go back to his school physically? Is he feeling lonely? Will he be fearful of exploring the world around him? When will he celebrate his birthday with friends, play with them? Its natural to feel guilt.
As a parent, the most intense emotion is reserved for your child and family.
The impact of coronavirus on our parenting will be lasting. I indulge in my own personal pain when I need to and I do my best to maintain my perspective when I can. While others may hurt far more, I myself may allow to hurt as well and without judgement.
As a pediatrician and mother, I give all parents permission to do the same.
Dr. Lily Rajbhandari
Senior Consultant Pediatrician
Manmohan Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Swayambhu