Health Heroes: Thank you to everyone on the front line of COVID-19

Every day they do battle against COVID-19.

Whether treating patients, taking calls, testing samples, wiping down chairs, maintaining equipment or an array of other tasks, every health worker is vital in the mission to save lives.

Blacktown Hospital resident medical officer Dr Anika Jain started work this week in the dedicated new COVID-19 ward.

“It’s our job like anyone else, it just so happens to be higher risk. But we want to help people and do our role in this pandemic,” Anika said.

“Of course there is some anxiety and uncertainty. We’re unsure where it’s all heading. I live with my parents so I’m keeping to myself as much as possible, to protect them.

Blacktown Hospital doctors Anika Jain and Jovana Stojkov.

“I work, I exercise and I chat with my friends on video. It’s not fun but we’re on the right track. If people continue to follow the advice we can get through this and get back to normal life.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, going out without anxiety, and getting back to my normal life and routine.”

Gary Dowell has been a security guard at Auburn Hospital for six years, and worked at Westmead Hospital before that.

“I’ve got two kids and my mother-in-law in her 70s at home, so I’m cautions with washing my hands regularly and getting changed as soon as I get home,” he said.

“The hospital is a busy place and sometimes we have to deal with aggressive patients or visitors. But a lot of people have lost their jobs so I am grateful to be in the health system.

“My message to everyone is adhere to what the government says. Keep your distance and keep up the personal hygiene. You can’t just think of yourself – think of others and the risk this might pose to them.”

Blacktown Hospital cleaners Binabahen Nizama, Rory Dunlop and Miyoko Tongor.

Miyoko Tongor is an assistant in nursing, but working as a cleaner at Blacktown Hospital while she studies to become an enrolled nurse.

Her children, aged 17, 12 and 7, are still attending school so she can keep working to keep the hospital clean for staff and patients.

“There are some concerns at the back of my mind but it is what it is. We wear protective equipment and take every precaution,” Miyoko said.

“The school holidays will be harder. We usually go to the Easter Show but there’s not much we’ll be able to do now.

“My message is to the teenagers and young people: please stay home to protect the older people. I’ve seen with my own eyes what this disease can do. Be careful, wash your hands, and stay home with your family.”

Thank you Anika, Gary, Miyoko and everyone working to keep us safe!