STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: Essential workers during COVID-19

We are living in difficult times. COVID-19 has forced children out of schools, elderly into further isolation and most significantly, it has exposed the crippling social inequalities that the most vulnerable in our communities have endured for far too long. While the rest of New Zealand are on lockdown, essential workers are sacrificing time away from their loved ones to ensure that the country runs smoothly and safely. This mini series aims to raise awareness, encourage hope and honour our people working on the frontline during COVID-19. 

Dr Anthony Dewan is one of the doctors serving our South Auckland community during the COVID-19 crisis. Dr Dewan is of Tongan descent and has been working in the medical profession for five years. As a young doctor, he has worked a variety of specialties with his main experience in Psychiatry and General Practice. Now, as an essential worker, he shares with us his role in the fight against COVID-19 and what we can do to protect ourselves and those around us.

As a doctor working in South Auckland, can you describe what its like to work during the lockdown?

The way we are working is rapidly changing and evolving daily with the situation and we have been required to evolve and accept that it will continue to change. Within General Practice, there have been dramatic changes compared to one week ago with a shift towards primarily virtual consultations but still having face to face consultations when needed. It is busier, however our staff have stepped up to the challenge and we are all working together and looking after each other.

How have your loved ones reacted to you working during the lockdown?

They are very supportive. We all working together and communicating to ensure the usual household needs are running smoothly. My extended family have also been supportive through well wishes on social media.

Why have you made the decision to work during this crisis?

Not working during this time has never actually crossed my mind. It was not really a decision, it is more of a privilege and duty and I think most health professionals and workers in essential services would feel the same way.

From your position, what do you think the wider public can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

1. #stayathome. Simple as that. With the Level 4 lockdown this will now be a requirement. See the COVID-19 government website for more information

2. If you feeling sick, self isolate, follow the health advice regarding hygiene and contact your local GP/ healthline for advice. See the ministry of health website for more details.

3. It not just the spread of COVID-19, misinformation is also rampant and viral. Being cautious about what you see on social media and please use reliable sources for information from medical professionals and academics within the relevant scientific field.

There will be people reading this from the comfort of their own home. What is your message of hope for them and everyone around you?

Everyone in this country has a part to play during this period. Collectively all our actions will have an impact during this pandemic. Be safe and be kind to one another.



Tineleti Tau

Thank you nephew and all the Medical staff for your continuous hard work. If we all do our part, no matter where we live, we can beat this pandemic. If we all just adhere to the guidelines that have been given to #stayathome we can control and minimize the spread of the virus. Thank you again for all you do

Atu Moa

We are so grateful to all the doctors like Doctor Dewan including nurses and other healthcare workers who put their own lives at risk to help the community, God bless you all and may he keep you all safe during this difficult time.
I hope people adhere to their counsels to self isolate and practice good hygiene to help erradicate this virus, and give these heroes a break.

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