As the majority of us are in our homes following social distancing best practice and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, there are others in our society that are fighting COVID-19 by going into public spaces every morning and ensuring that we are provided for when it comes to safety, health and food security.
We’d like to commend these workers and express deep gratitude to those who are taking more risks when it comes to their health, in order to keep our nation nourished and functioning. There are many essential service workers who are doing incredible things, and we would like to outline just a few job roles that might sometimes be overlooked but one’s we certainly couldn’t do without in this trying time.
Truck Drivers (logistics and transportation)
As we know, a truck driver is essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies. About 80% of freight in South Africa is transported by road – a key industry that contributes significantly to the economic growth of our country. There is a common slogan – that, “Without trucks, South Africa stops!” It is the road freight operators who ensure that much-needed product s are delivered – on time, to the right people, at the right place. As long as trucks are around, South Africa will not stop.
Without cashiers and store assistants, we wouldn’t be able to purchase our much-needed food items. It is imperative that we are cautious and vigilant around these individuals when it comes to keeping social distancing standards and ensuring that we protect our face and don’t visit a grocery store if we’re feeling unwell. These people are particularly vulnerable to being infected due to the amount of interactions they have with the public every day. A cashier literally puts their life on the line – often for a fairly low wage, so we need to be respectful and supportive to these key individuals during this time.
Community Health Workers (healthcare and medical systems)
What is it like to be a community health worker during a pandemic? Healthcare workers provide medical care to patients and assist doctors, respiratory therapists, paramedics and others. They are at a much higher risk of catching COVID-19 as they spend a lot of time up close with the patient doing high-risk activities. These include placing patients on ventilators or collecting samples of sputum from their lungs.
They are also at risk if patients with COVID-19 aren’t identified quickly. Doctors and nurses might start to treat them without taking the necessary precautions, which leaves them more exposed to infection. We know that if doctors and nurses start getting sick in high numbers, this could cripple the healthcare system. A physically and mentally draining job, we wouldn’t be able to fight this pandemic without these essential and precious individuals.