Name, Sponsors, Link to the Event
Name: #FirstRespondersFirst: The Path Forward.
Sponsors: the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Thrive Global, and the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Foundation.
Place, Date, Length of the Event
Date: July 29, 2020.
Length: 1 hour 6 minutes.
Names of Participants and Their Titles
- Abby Phillip, a CNN political correspondent based in Washington
- Michelle Williams, the dean of the faculty at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
- Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global
- Deborah Marcus, the CAA Foundation
- Carmelo Anthony, NBA all-star, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and First Responders First leadership council member
- Ann Lee, the CEO and co-founder of CORE, Community Organized Relief Effort,a First Responders First leadership council member
Brief Summary of the Topic Discussed
The topic is concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic as a global public health issue. Specifically, the participants of the event discuss the ways of meeting the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations among volunteers dealing with COVID-19. The mission of #FirstRespondersFirst is to provide assistance to frontline health workers.
My Analysis of the Health Policy Issue and Its Implications for Health Care
The health policy issue under analysis is a rather crucial one. Whereas the whole world is shattered with the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders, or frontline health workers, are not only performing the riskiest job-related tasks. Unfortunately, these brave individuals are frequently exposed to severe material and spiritual obstacles on the way to fulfilling their duties. Therefore, the need for a health policy aimed at providing frontline healthcare workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), housing, and food. Most importantly, it is also necessary to arrange appropriate mental health support for these individuals.
At the event, the necessity for promoting the physical and mental well-being of first responders is discussed. According to current research studies, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in healthcare workers is rather high (Nguyen et al., 2020). What is more, this threat is continuously increasing due to the lack of PPE and because of ineffective strategies for protecting healthcare workers. These problems are particularly visible in minority population groups, including Asian and Black frontline healthcare employees (Nguyen et al., 2020). On a global scale, over 3000 healthcare workers are reported to have died because of being involved in anti-COVID-19 activities (“Global: Health workers silenced,” 2020). However, this number is considered “a significant underestimate” (“Global: Health workers silenced,” 2020, para. 2). Numerous healthcare workers have faced the problem of being detained, arrested, or dismissed due to raising safety concerns that the governments would prefer to silence.
Frontline healthcare workers remark that there are considerable shortages of PPE, which urges them to buy their own protective items to save their own lives and those of their communities. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, as well as over fifty countries, introduced measures preventing eliminating the export of PPE and its components (“Global: Health workers silenced,” 2020). As a result, many of the first responders in developing countries are forced to perform their duties without the appropriate protection, putting their health and lives under threat.
Along with the lack of proper financial support, healthcare employees fighting the pandemic undergo severe mental changes, including stigmatization, avoidance, and moral injury. The latter, which is not considered a mental illness, is a state of psychological distress emerging when one’s ethical or moral codes are violated (Greenberg et al., 2020). Moral injury frequently occurs in healthcare students when they realize that they cannot cope with emergency situations. In the conditions of the pandemic, healthcare workers are also exposed to this kind of mental health difficulty since there are too many unknown factors related to COVID-19 to which frontier workers are not prepared (Greenberg et al., 2020). What is more, physicians and nurses performing the most dangerous and life-saving duties are often stigmatized and harassed (Bagcchi, 2020). That is why the idea of promoting a policy focused on the provision of assistance to frontline health workers is of utmost importance. Since COVID-19 is a global pandemic, it requires the cooperation of various parties in order to provide the first respondents with sufficient means of protection and support.
Bagcchi, S. (2020). Stigma during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 20(7), 782. Web.
Global: Health workers silenced, exposed and attacked. (2020). Amnesty International. Web.
Greenberg, N., Docherty, M., Gnanapragasam, S., & Wessely, S. (2020). Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcareworkers during COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ, 368. Web.
Nguyen, L. H., Drew, D. A., Graham, M. S., Joshi, A. D., Guo, C.-G., Ma, W., Mehta, R. S., Warner, E. T., Sikavi, D. R., Lo, C.-H., Kwon, S., Song, M., Mucci, L. A., Stampfer, M. J., Willett, W. C., Eliassen, A. H., Hart, J. E., Chavarro, J. E., Rich-Edwards, J. W., Davies, R., … Chan, A. T. (2020). Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers and the general community: A prospective cohort study. The Lancet Public Health, 5(9), e475-e483. Web.