MAKKAH: Health care providers across the world are faced with immense challenges as they play a key role in the global fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but many are faced with even bigger obstacles when the battle takes on a personal dimension.
A number of health care workers have had the difficult task of caring for a loved one infected by the virus. Their stories speak of patience, perseverance and hope.
Director of Makkah’s Ministry of Health 937 Service Center Asma Meswak carries out her daily duties, which include epidemiological surveys and answering queries at the call center, despite the fact that her mother is in intensive care after contracting COVID-19. Twelve other family members have also fallen ill with the disease.
Dr. Wael Mutair, director-general of Makkah Health Affairs, said that Meswak’s honorable actions are an example of the sacrifice and dedication of health workers.
Despite the gravity of her situation, Meswak stands in the first line of defense with her colleagues in Makkah, performing epidemiological investigations to further control the spread of the virus in highly dense neighborhoods. She also works at the Epidemiological Investigation Center, where information on the precautionary guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease is provided in various languages.
The 937 service center processes medical consultations, bookings for primary health centers, medical referrals and treatment requests. It also handles complaints, provides updates on transactions, receives suggestions and submits reports for service improvement.
In an interview with Arab News, Meswak explained how she is coping with the challenges facing her family.
“My 89-year-old mother contracted the virus through my nephew, who works in one of the commercial centers. She suffers from chronic illnesses and has respiratory failure, requiring the use of a ventilator to help her breathe,” she said.
It was distressing to have my mother in intensive care, but I knew that both Saudi citizens and expats needed someone to guide them and reassure them.
Asma Meswak, Director of 937 Service Center
Meswak’s mother was transferred to a hospital in Makkah as soon as the test results confirmed positive for infection and was immediately admitted into the intensive care unit to receive proper medical attention.
The other members of her family who contracted COVID-19 were put under quarantine as well. They have all since recovered.
“It was distressing to have my mother in intensive care, but I knew that both Saudi citizens and expats needed someone to guide them and reassure them,” Meswak said.
“I have continued doing my job, serving my family and all those who need help and guidance during this pandemic. Thank God my family members recovered. I pray that all of the infected heal and that the situation returns to normal,” she added.
“I urge all citizens and residents to adhere to the precautionary measures so that we may bring this virus under control,” she said.