JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – A Covid ward nurse in Surabaya, East Java had the rare opportunity to chat with Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo by video call about her work and how her fellow Indonesians should heed health protocols.
In their conversation on Sunday, nurse Sifira ‘Fira’ Kristingrum told the president: “I hardly spent time with my family since I was assigned [to deal with Covid-19 cases] last May. At best, I managed to go home to them once a month.”
“[Does the hospital] let you go home [at the end of your shift] or do you constantly have to be on guard there?” Jokowi asked the Dr. Ramelan Navy Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) nurse during the video call.
“It depends on our swab test. If we test negative, we are allowed to go home,” she replied.
While Fira admitted the strains of the job eased as the rate of Covid-19 infections in Surabaya decreased over the past two weeks, particularly after the addition of volunteers for the ICU ward, the trauma from working with Covid-19 positive cases still lingered.
“One of the recurring memories [of working in the ICU ward] was the fear that many Covid-19 positive patients feel,” she recalled. “One can see this as they start to experience shortness of breath when they are still conscious.”
When Jokowi asked Fira if she had anything to say to him or the public, she urged the public “to comply with health protocols. There are still many among the public who skip protocols like wearing masks or practicing social distancing.”
She added: “Seeing people who do not wear masks or converge in groups is a common sight for me as I head home.”