Single Parents, Hugs, and Slums

by | Apr 10, 2020 | Ideas |

Some days being in lockdown is frustrating and I’m tired of it, even though I’m an introvert who doesn’t leave the house much in normal times. But still gets to me at times. Because my day job is in the humanitarian space, my work demands have increased not decreased in this time. But our kids are home and expect more time with their Dad. Most days I feel like I’m a failing in all the roles I play in my life – spouse, Dad, humanitarian, and so on.

But I remember a colleague who, like me, has an increased work load and children at home. But is a single parent and also has Covid-19. And as a parent is terrified that the children will become infected but also terrified as they have no where else to go.

Then there are frontline workers who are parents or the primary care givers to elderly parents. Some are sleeping in hotels so they don’t infect children or parents. And they all just want to hug each other.

And because my work is in humanitarian aid, I work with colleagues who are on the frontlines in slums and refugee camps. Places where clean water is hard to find and it is impossible to keep 2 metres apart because there isn’t enough space for that. And we know from experiences with cholera and other infectious diseases, that once it gets in, it spreads like wildfire.

So is the virus affecting us all? Absolutely. Is it affecting us all the same? Not even close.

In South Sudan, there are 24 ICU beds and 4 ventilators in the entire country. 1 ventilator for every 2.5 million people. For comparison, in the UK there are now around 12,000 ventilators or 1 for every 5,500 people.

So is the virus affecting us all? Absolutely. Is it affecting us all the same? Not even close.

Photo by Dallas Reedy

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