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Coronavirus Crisis: Who has the mandate to protect emotional rights?

Filed under: Health & Nutrition,Latest News,Special Comments |
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By Justin Mupundu

The novel Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic have either infected or affected everyone who lives on earth.

About 4,210,074 million people have been infected with the virus and 287,158 people killed worldwide since the deadly COVID-19 broke out in China’s Wuhan city in December 2019 (As of May13, 2020). And only about one third or 1,470,598 million patients have recovered worldwide.

There are two aspects of health – physical and emotional. But the Coronavirus war focuses on physical health. Yet emotional health is equally a critical aspect of human health, and a human right.

Infected or Affected

The Coronavirus crisis have not only shattered and battered economies, disrupted social and economic activities worldwide (for almost five months since the first human case was reported in China), but also inflicted stress on both infected and affected.

But how are health systems responding to the emotional health challenges posed by the Coronavirus crisis? How are frontline health workers, health authorities, patients, survivors, families and relatives of those who have died from the virus coping with stress? Who has the mandate to promote and protect emotional rights?

How is everyone coping with stress?

Its’ almost five months since the outbreak: No apparent time frame to control the spread of the virus, which is spreading at the rabbit’s pace with severity not known to humans. It’s most unlikely the virus will be contained in the next six months or so as the world continues recording new cases.

Those affected by either losing jobs or businesses are gripped with fear, despair, uncertainties and speculations.

The infected are subjected to anguish, pain, and endured untold suffering inflicted on them by the severity of the deadly Coronavirus disease.

As for those who have lost their loved ones, families and friends, they are gripped with grief and sorrow.

Memories of the cold hand of death that robbed them of their loved ones, relatives and friends and the merciless Coronavirus are still fresh. There stressful situation is being compounded by new deaths being recorded on the daily basis!

How are frontline health workers coping with COVID-19 pandemic stress-related?

Whilst facemasks are one of the Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), it’s not a shield to stress! Frontline health workers need protection and security from work-related stress.

Frontline health workers will not effectively save lives, but be overwhelmed if they are not shielded from stress!

Is there hope?

Both the infected and affected populations with COVID-19 pandemic need psycho-socio counseling to cope with stress. But the response to COVID-19 pandemic lacks psycho-social counseling component towards both the infected and affected populations.

Who then has the duty to promote and protect emotional rights?

According to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25(1):

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Specifically, ‘the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being”… includes emotional rights.

Whilst human rights are endowed by our Creator, God, the mandate to provide emotional care rests with respective Governments. However, emotional care is not evident in most governments’ response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Winning the fight against COVID-19 pandemic requires all of us to have confidence in God, and provision of psycho-socio counselling to those infected and affected in an effort to protect and shield them from stress.

The author is a veteran freelance journalist and political analyst

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31