Dharamshala: COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented disruption in the lives of all individuals and the daily affairs of every community, causing a huge burden to the healthcare system of every country.
The frontline workers have been affected the worst with overbearing
For the Tibetan refugees settled in India and Nepal, the Department of Health (CTA) since January 2020, has actively worked towards the COVID-19 awareness and prevention programs, infection control, and COVID-19 treatment support. The CTA in collaboration with Men-Tsee-Khang, Delek Hospital, and other institutions, especially the frontline workers in the settlements, has been successfully implementing the aforementioned programs despite various challenges.
The frontline workers in the Tibetan settlement include the nurses, doctors, drivers, contractual and volunteer staff at the quarantine and COVID Care Centers (CCC), Executive secretaries, Settlement officers and their respective office staff. Some of the reported challenges faced by frontline workers are workload overburden and stigma during work.
Having to function in such stressful situations and environments for a prolonged period of time, they are at a greater risk to experience mental distress like burnout and compassion fatigue. Understanding these challenges and risks, the Department of Health has initiated a helpline service especially for the frontline workers in July 2020. Recently, in January 2021, the Department has done a survey to understand the need for mental healthcare services for the frontline workers in Tibetan communities in India. A total of 89 frontline workers participated in this survey. From the survey, it was found that some of the frontline workers in Tibetan settlements in India have reported a decline in their mental wellbeing since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.