In an Op-ed recently published in the Mail and Guardian, Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity, Rene Sparks, advocates for more care to be provided to health and care workers beyond the Pandemic.

Sparks, who is also an Aspen New Voices Fellow and an executive member of the Public Health Association of South Africa, shares her frontline experiences of being a healthcare worker during the pandemic in South Africa, the most concerning of which is the job losses nurses experienced after field hospitals had closed after the first wave.

“These nurses were looking for new jobs, had bills to pay, needed to eat and provide for families, but were now left destitute and anxious.” – Rene Sparks

Rene further emphasizes the importance of Mental Health. Referring to Atlantic Fellow based at Tekano Cyan Brown’s social change initiative sponsored by Tekano in 2021, called A Quiet Implosion, which dealt with the mental health state of doctors and care workers, Rene argues that an economic solution to the problem is not enough due to other ripple effects of the pandemic. Rene argues that the ripple effects of the pandemic on the mental health of care workers is inevitable and needs immediate intervention before it negatively impacts an already fragile health system.

“These compounding factors might not be immediately visible but mental health issues and low morale among healthcare workers will start disrupting services and negatively affect the quality of care being provided.” – Rene Sparks

Rene Sparks draws on her own experiences of growing up in a disadvantaged community in South Africa to advocate for equity in the distribution of and access to health care services and facilities. You can read the full article by clicking the link below.