Experts recognized the first case of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It eventually spread to other cities and authorities hence declared a pandemic in March 2020. The lockdown eventually affected all industries including dentistry.
-by Dr Muntaha Tariq
The chaos of coronavirus
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused COVID-19. It spreads via droplets (respiratory system) from coughing and sneezing. Touching contaminated surfaces can lead to transmission, too.
The unprecedented impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 affected all fields of life, sparing no business or even the education system. It had a significant impact on healthcare workers. These frontline soldiers have risked their lives to fight the virus. The pandemic has badly hit the dental world.
Uncertain times for Dentistry
Soon after the respective countries declared a pandemic, the dental community stopped all elective dental procedures. This was due to high transmission risk through aerosol generation by the dental drill. It took a toll on all the people, associated with the field of dentistry as their livelihood source is poorly affected.
Early intervention can stop the progression of a superficial carious lesion to a complex one. However, a delay in dental procedures made it challenging. These were trying times not only for dentists but for patients as well. Patients had to wait even for simple techniques, such as scaling and polishing. Dental professionals treated pain with painkillers instead of getting to the cause. It was the most sensible thing to do till things got better.
The new ‘normal’ treatment
In times of uncertainty, teledentistry came to the rescue. Dental professionals introduced the concept of teledentistry to facilitate patients. It enabled them to speak with a specialist and get online prescriptions. Therefore, the number of patients visiting a dental facility was reduced. This, subsequently, lowered the risk of contracting the disease. Dental treatments were limited to emergencies, such as a patient coming in with excruciating dental pain.
COVID and Pakistan
The government of Pakistan confirmed 502,416 cases till 10th January 2021. The highest number of cases is recorded in the province of Sindh, with the lowest being in Gilgit- Baltistan. Several vaccines have been introduced, and some countries have started administering it, but Pakistan is not among them. As a result, they only offer symptomatic Treatment here. More than 11,000 healthcare workers have had the disease.
Pakistan‘s response to COVID-19 heroes
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) listed the workers who lost their lives, in an attempt to provide a compensation package to the families. This is the least that Medical bodies can do for the heroes fighting this deadly battle.
Each doctor, nurse and paramedic will get Rs. 7 million as one-time Shuhada packageHealth Secretary, Syed Imtiaz Hussain
Secretary of the PMA, Dr Qaisar Sajjad, said that each province’s government had announced the Shuhuda package for the families of health workers who lost their lives but still have not been compensated.
COVID-19 & Pakistan: Dental heroes await
Unfortunately, any private organization or government authority didn’t announce any reward for Pakistani dentists. However, if you will search about other countries like the U.K, their government announced Employment and Support allowance for their self-employed dentists who have savings less than £16,000.
It may not be possible for our government to honour every medical and dental professional, but the purpose of raising our voice is to pay them a tribute for their remarkable service.
-The author is contributing writer at Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org