Guest Blog from Kris Eckert
Kris Eckert and I have published many papers together. She’s an American researcher whose scientist husband is a specialist in vector-borne diseases. They live in Chapala outside of Guadalajara, Mexico. She sent me a chilling message about the treatment of nurses in Mexico in response to COVID-19, and I asked her to explain further. I know you feel as I do that the healthcare workers in the trenches right now are superheroes. They are the hands of God to a suffering world. I am asking readers for advice about how to support nurses in Mexico – and any other country, who are suffering mistreatment. What can we do?)
Thank you sharing these first-person accounts. I am grateful to see that the courage of healthcare workers on the front line of COVID-19 is appreciated in the U.S! Here in Guadalajara, Mexico, nurses are being discriminated against, pushed off the public buses or refused service. There is even a report of people throwing bleach on a nurse near the government clinic in the state of Jalisco, where the first COVID-19 related death was reported. It’s horrible.
My husband works in vector control, helping to control reported cases of Dengue fever and prevent Dengue outbreak from happening simultaneously with COVID-19 in this part of Mexico and which could potentially devastate the population. Healthcare workers are terrified to make the necessary door-to-door home visits to identify Dengue cases and fumigate homes. A good proportion of the healthcare workers in the field have underlying conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, and for which the Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, has said warrants shelter-at-home through April 19. If healthcare workers make their house calls, they risk COVID-19 and if they don’t, patients may die of Dengue fever.
Both inside and outside the hospital, healthcare workers are risking their lives to care for and protect patients and their surrounding communities, but little protection is afforded them. Since the reports of brutal attacks on nurses have been published, there has been some good news, with taxis now offering to pick up nurses free of charge to transport them to and from work. We all need to work together as a community to help our healthcare workers. We need to get the word out somehow. God bless them and God protect them all.