TILBURG – The risk of transmitting the virus to someone else is the biggest fear of the so called ‘front liners’ in healthcare. Amongst these individuals, there’s a large group of Dutch Caribbean individuals who have to worry about something else: the situation on their islands. What are their experiences working during the crisis? We’re paying attention to these Caribbean healthcare heroes this week.

Qiona Hernandez was born on Curaçao and works as a doctor on the urology department of the Elisabeth Tweesteden Ziekenhuis in Tilburg. This hospital had the first official confirmed corona patient in the Netherlands on February 27th.

At the moment Hernandez is also coming into contact with corona patients and fears transmitting the virus to others. Regardless of these concerns she’s trying to make the best of it. Read about it here.

The hospital in Tilburg where Qiona Hernandez works – Picture: private collection

The loneliness that corona patients experience and the uncertainty of whether or not we will ever get the virus under control is what sticks with doctor Hernandez the most. In a conversation with Caribbean Network  she shared her experiences and concerns but also her techniques for dealing with those.

“Follow the rules. Make sure that you’re up-to-date with what the rules and measures are which have been taken. And get your information from trusted sources”, is Hernandez’s advice.

Healthcare workers also have to adapt to the new situation. “Everyone is giving it their all. That means that we are made available to the Covid-department if it’s needed. Everyone is doing the best their best. So if it’s necessary you go to a different department.”

Due to the limited number of confirmed cases, Curaçao doesn’t exhibit a particular pattern of infections. But Hernandez applauds the manner in which the government of her island has handled the crisis, including the curfew.

The Netherlands versus Curaçao
The doctor is also positive about the community, which is taking the measures seriously. Is there a difference with the Netherlands?: “There’s a difference in the rules. In the Netherlands the following apply: keep a distance and only go outside if required. There are no restrictions on which days you can leave the house as is the case in Curaçao”, says Hernandez.

Behavior determines future
The progression of the crisis in the Netherlands and on the islands will be determined according to Hernandez by the behavior of people and whether or not they comply with the social distancing measures and the restriction on large groups.

This week Caribbean Network will put Caribbean healthcare heroes who are working during the corona crisis in the limelight.