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Nurses working tirelessly to defeat COVID-19, says PHCC
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Nurses working tirelessly to defeat COVID-19, says PHCC

Nursing staff act as a protective and preventive shield against the transmission of any infection, including COVID-19, says Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) Head Nurse at the Leabaib Health Center, Ebtisam Abdullah.
“Our nurses help protect the medical staff and all Health Center visitors from possible contraction of coronavirus on a daily basis. This is achieved through a set of precautionary measures taken by the nursing staff before patients walk into any Health Centers,” said Mrs Abdullah.
Among these measures include a quick desk test, checking of body temperatures, asking COVID-19-relevant questions, and taking note of any respiratory symptoms or symptoms similar to COVID-19, such as coughing, sore throat and fever. 
According to Mrs Abdullah, visitors at all the Health Centers are treated as suspected COVID-19 cases. “In the event any of the above symptoms are detected, the patient will be treated as a suspected COVID-19 case and asked to sanitize his or her hands and to wear a surgical mask. They will then be admitted into the isolation room immediately,” she explained.
Following admission, nurses will carry out further precautionary measures by checking vital signs and performing the COVID-19 swabbing test. After the test, the nursing staff will explain further steps that the patient will need to take, including the quarantine procedure. Nurses will also ensure that patients complete the Undertaking Form, based on which he or she will be given a standard booklet from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), containing important guidelines which are to be used as a reference during the quarantine period.  
Once a suspected case is discharged from the isolation room, the nursing staff supervises the disinfection process as part of PHCC’s efforts in combating the spread of COVID-19. 
According to Mrs Abdullah, nurses also make sure to follow up with home-quarantined patients.
She said: “Calls are made daily to offer patients support and to monitor their health condition, while answering any queries they might have with regards to their current health status.” 
Another significant role played by nurses is that of creating and spreading awareness about COVID-19 among patients. These include reminders on the importance of practising social distancing, as well as the need for regular hand sanitization and the benefits of wearing a face mask.
“If a positive COVID-19 case is detected, we adopt all the measures outlined by MoPH,” said Mrs Abdullah. “First, a doctor will contact the patient and inform him or her of the test results. Then, a request for further tests are made using the patient’s database. Following this, the nursing staff will coordinate with the four Centers that are allocated as COVID-19 quarantine facilities (Muaither, Rawdat Al Khail, Al Gharafah and Umm Slal) in order to carry out the required tests. Based on that, the patient will be transferred to a suitable quarantine facility,” she explained.
To cover the global shortage of nurses and to meet the needs of health sectors worldwide after the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was an urgent need for an estimated 5.9 million nurses to help cope with the pandemic.
Like all other countries, Qatar faced a shortage of medical staff and in particular, nurses. Many were unable to return to work at the end of their annual leave due to the temporary suspension of flights. Additionally, PHCC’s Health Centers experienced a shortage of existing nurses when 30 per cent of its nursing staff were allocated to MoPH in support of the COVID-19 crisis plan.
“In an effort to overcome these challenges, PHCC was able to acquire skilled nurses on a temporary, urgent basis,” said Mrs Abdullah. 
“Our nurses also had to put in long hours at the Health Centers in an effort to battle this pandemic. It has not been easy, but our sense of duty and responsibility towards our patients and the nation of Qatar, along with the support of many other groups and service providers, has helped us face these obstacles head-on. We managed to contribute towards accomplishing the desired outcomes in confronting this pandemic, which we hope will soon come to an end.”

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