Dear Brothers & Sisters and fellow Ismaili Health Professionals,
As Ismaili Health Professionals, you are looked upon by members of our Jamat as leaders and experts within our field. As you are aware, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread within Canada. Over the past few weeks, a multi-disciplinary task force has been closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The taskforce consists of a number of institutional partners who are actively engaged in pandemic planning for the Jamat with the primary aim of protecting our most vulnerable populations.
The situation in Canada is evolving rapidly, and we rely on Jamati health professionals to contribute to the education of the Jamat regarding the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as the importance of social distancing and other infection control measures. As the numbers increase in Canada, our healthcare systems are likely to get overwhelmed, and we will continue to look to you to provide critical support to vulnerable populations within the Jamat. We are grateful to the individuals who have already come forward to lead and assist with a number of intitiatives, including the recently initiated ACCESS line. Please visit https://iicanada.org/coronavirus or the weekly Al-Akhbar for Frequently Asked Questions and updates.
During times of crisis, more than ever, we rely on the generosity of time and knowledge from our fellow healthcare professionals to help care for our Jamat. It is also during these times of crisis that we are humbled and inspired by the selfless, often unsolicited gifts of service that enable us to do the work that we do. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to hearing from and working with many of you as we work together to support our Jamat through this crisis.
Munir Boodhwani, MD
Chairman, Aga Khan Health Board for Canada
Below is some guidance and attached are some resources specific to health care professionals for you to learn more and aid you in your daily practice as you assist others.
In any epidemic, it is common for individuals to feel stressed and worried. Common responses of people affected (both directly and indirectly) might include:
- Fear of falling ill and dying & avoiding approaching health facilities due to fear of becoming infected while in care
- Fear of losing livelihoods, not being able to work during isolation, and of being dismissed from work
- Fear of being socially excluded/placed in quarantine because of being associated with the disease (e.g. racism against persons who are from, or perceived to be from, affected areas)
- Fear of reliving the experience of a previous epidemic
Emergencies are always stressful, but specific stressors particular to COVID-19 outbreak affect the population. Stressors include:
- Risk of being infected and infecting others, especially if the transmission mode of COVID-19 is not 100% clear
- Common symptoms of other health problems (e.g. a fever) can be mistaken for COVID-19 and lead to fear of being infected
- Caregivers may feel increasingly worried
In addition to the above we encourage all Ismaili Health professionals to ensure information disseminated is factual and up to date and that we all collectively take proactive and preventative measures to mitigate the potential for community spread.
As always, we are grateful for your service to the Jamat.