Friday, 22 January, 2021

Corona Patients Need Humane Treatment

Yam Bahadur Dura


AMID a series of insults and misbehaviours with the COVID-19 patients and health workers, a new incident of similar kind appeared in the heart of Kathmandu. According to media reports, local people mishandled a team of doctors and nurses living at a house in Baneshwor on August 22. This incident is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of incidents of the COVID-19 patients, including recovered ones, and the health workers being misbehaved in different times and places. Such incidents have not only disheartened them and but also undermined social justice.

No mistreatment
These cases suggest the extent of our intolerance and insensitivity. Of course, everyone should stay aware of his/her surroundings and the COVID-19 pandemic. This doesn't mean that one should mistreat the coronavirus patients and health workers. Both doctors and patients deserve much love and respect, but not boos and hatred. We may feel so if we think of them cool-headedly. Media reports and my own observation suggest that people are not abiding by the ethics to be followed at the times of pandemic. There are many instances that some people don't mind gathering in crowds without any compelling reasons, roaming around without wearing face masks and carrying out other activities that lead to the spread COVID-19.
On the one hand, we don't follow the prescribed safety measures. On the other, we jeer the COVID-19 patients and the health workers. This is height of irresponsibility. These kind of selfish and reckless behaviours and attitudes take us nowhere. This only exposes our hypocritical attitude. This is a difficult time. Obviously, the whole world is going through a lot of hardships. Socio-economic adversities top the agenda. Let's talk about our own country. A large number of migrant workers want to return home from various countries after losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Some public records show that around 0.5 million workers living abroad want to come back home and some of them have already returned with sorrowful hearts.
With a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients, our healthcare system now seems to be under tremendous pressure. Along with this, our brothers and sisters are enduring economic hardships. Like in other parts of the world, the pandemic has brought both formal and informal economies to their knees. A noticeable number of people have become jobless. In addition, people have lost their loved ones to the pandemic, and the various natural disasters like landslides, flash floods and thunderstorms have rubbed salt into the wound of nation.
In this grave situation, our people need a helping hand, a great deal of moral support, and psychological healings that assist them to come out of the immense grief and trauma. This situation demands a high degree of patience and emotional intelligence, not reckless and selfish attitude and behaviour.
Sorry to say that we are not showing wise and prudent behaviours to those who are in difficult situations. Instead, we are disheartening them through different inhuman acts. Nothing can justify the acts of misbehaving the COVID-19 patients and harassing the health workers. This is an entirely inhuman and insensitive behaviour. It is simply unacceptable to treat them with an iron fist in a velvet glove. They need compassion, love and care essential to cure them and lift their spirit.
Likewise, the health workers are frontline protectors of people's lives. They have been treating patients unconditionally risking their own lives. There is no doubt that they are doing a laudable job. Both the COVID-19 patients and the health workers are human beings. They need food, shelter and everything that every being needs. These are more commonsensical things. Why do we heckle them when they take a shelter in our nearby location against the appeal of our own commonsense? Why do we discriminate the victims? Why do we disrespect the health workers? Why are we losing our commonsense?
These activities are sheer violations of human rights, and humanitarian norms and values. A true human being cannot stand against humanity. That's why humanly behaviours and attitudes are the only things that rectify the aforesaid misbehaviours.

Coordinated efforts
In this context, Mahatma Gandhi's thought seems to be much more relevant. Once he said, 'The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.' This quotable quote makes us reevaluate our own behaviours. The need of the hour is to make coordinated efforts to fight the COVID-19 and revamp our already recessed economy. In a way, this time has given us an opportunity to do more to save humanity and recover the country from economic recession.
For the time being, our attentions should be focused largely on the aforesaid domains. Let's extend our helping hand and moral support to the needy people. If we cannot do these things, let's not insult and mistreat them now onwards. Let's save humanity.

(Dura is a lecturer.) 

How do you feel after reading this news?