Protective equipment purchased by UNOPS increases health workers’ confidence

Working with fear of the unknown, health workers from São José Hospital in Joinville in the state of Santa Catarina (southern Brazil) are adopting new practices to protect themselves from the coronavirus. The team only uses Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has increased their confidence when treating patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID -19 or who might possibly be infected with the disease.

The municipal hospital is part of the Unified Health System (SUS in Portuguese) and has an exclusive emergency room for patients who show symptoms of the coronavirus. The area has been completely isolated and assigned dedicated teams of health workers to provide care.

 

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Working with fear of the unknown, health workers from São José Hospital in Joinville in the state of Santa Catarina (southern Brazil) are adopting new practices to protect themselves from the coronavirus. The team only uses Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has increased their confidence when treating patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID -19 or who might possibly be infected with the disease.

The municipal hospital is part of the Unified Health System (SUS in Portuguese) and has an exclusive emergency room for patients who show symptoms of the coronavirus. The area has been completely isolated and assigned dedicated teams of health workers to provide care.

Nurse Camila Alves Leandro, coordinator of the emergency room, explained the situation at the hospital. There had been no confirmed case of COVID-19 there at the time she was interviewed, but five patients were awaiting test results and one worker was dismissed for presenting flu-like symptoms, following the Ministry of Health protocols.

Before the global health crisis, some equipment, such as overalls and face shields, were not routinely used at the hospital. Now, they provide the health workers with the necessary protection to take care of patients, enabling the workers to still provide patients with emotional comfort, according to Camila. She talked about the anguish that her team had been feeling and expressed joyful relief that she and her colleagues would be able to return home with peace of mind, confident that they would not contaminate their family members.

Using PPE is only one of the precautions that have been taken by the SUS team. Camila said they have been routinely following other safety measures, including showering after working in the hospital. In addition, they have been following step-by-step instructions on how to safely remove the equipment.

The contingency plan prepared by the hospital had considered the possibility of expanding this restricted area. “We are prepared for the worst, but I hope in the end we won’t need the increased space”, said Camila, with hope. The nurse believes that she and her colleagues will come out of this crisis more strengthened, as people, as professionals and as a team. “We see how fragile that we all are and we understand that we face the same risks”, she said.

Donation –São José Hospital received 200 overalls, 100 glasses, 350 boxes of gloves and 100 face shields with visors purchased by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The Attorneys’ Office of the Municipality of Joinville, which is linked to the Public Labor Ministry, identified the hospital as one that was in need of the equipment.