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The Nigerian Front Line Workers Digest: Elena Okoto, Laboratory Scientist

The Nigerian Front Line Workers Digest: Elena Okoto, Laboratory Scientist

Front Line Workers in Nigeria

This article is dedicated to celebrating the front line workers in Nigeria, and the world. We applaud their self-sacrifice, diligence and determination to keep the health & safety of Nigerians first.

As Nigeria moves closer and closer to fully reopening, it is important to note that we are still in a pandemic. Covid-19 is still very much a part of our lives, and wearing a face mask in public spaces, social distancing, and keeping up general hygiene is still very important. And this has been made even more glaring from an interview TW Contributor, Neenma Ebeledike conducted with Front line workers. In it, she gets accounts of the Pandemic from a different vantage point – from those facing it every day.

This feature will be released each Wednesday but for now, here’s Part 1.

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As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rises in Lagos State, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the state can only boast of eight isolation centres with 547-bed spaces. Giving an update on the number of isolation centres in the state during a press briefing, the Commissioner listed the various isolation centres currently in the state and their bed capacities.

It is no news that Health workers are at the front line of the COVID- 19 response in Nigeria and across the world. These isolation centres will not be operational without them tirelessly providing their services daily. Their efforts are admirable and praiseworthy. Thus, TW Magazine set out to conduct interviews with different frontline workers to ascertain their experience in dealing with COVID-19 patients, their coping mechanisms, the stigma they might have faced by the general public among many other issues relating to the virus.

Here’s what they had to say;

Elena Okoto, Laboratory Scientist

Front Line Workers in Nigeria

I worked at the Eti-Osa Isolation Center as a Laboratory Scientist. Basically, I was in charge of running tests on COVID-19 patients. I was scared at first to work at the isolation centre, but my family and friends encouraged me. I am grateful I never contracted the virus, although some of my colleagues did, but none died. I am glad I could play an essential part in this global pandemic. I had so much love for the patients. I was very passionate about the job.

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Most of the patients that were brought into the centre are asymptomatic, which means the symptoms of the virus might not surface at all till much later or never in some cases.
There is no need to panic if you find out you’re positive – just take the necessary precautionary measures. There is a need for the government to provide more isolation centres within the country as the number of confirmed cases keep increasing.

A common myth we hear about the virus is that it can be cured with malaria medicine and this is absolutely false! I would also like to advise Nigerians to stop stigmatizing COVID-19 survivors.

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TW applauds all Front Line Workers and all the agencies working to make the world 100% safe.

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