Phan Hien’s family from Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Binh District had four people infected with Covid-19 in early October, including an 85-year-old grandmother.
Worried about the worst scenario, should he and other family members become critically ill, Hien decided to hire someone to care for his grandmother.
“Looking for a healthy female, Covid recovered patient to take care of the elderly at home,” he wrote in the job description post.
“Recovered patients have better immunity than people who get two doses of the vaccine anyway,” Hien explained.
Hien’s grandmother is healthy and can walk around normally. So he only asks the caregiver to support her if needed and not do any chores around the house. Since his family will provide accommodation and meals, he pays the caregiver a salary of VND500,000 a day.
Just a few minutes after posting on Facebook, a woman accepted his job offer but said she could only work for a week.
Many families who need to find someone to take care of patients and the elderly at home or at hospitals have posted similar criteria online.
Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Health, said recovered Covid patients have higher immunity against the virus than those who have not been infected even if they have been fully vaccinated.
This means a healthy person who has received two doses of the vaccine could still be infected, while a person who has been infected has a very low chance of re-infection.
During the fourth Covid-19 outbreak, HCMC recorded nearly 416,000 infections. The city’s health department added that from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1, the number of Covid patients who have completed isolation was more than 87,000, including over 54,000 people of working age.
The group “finding recovered patients to take care of current patients” in HCMC, established at the end of August, currently has nearly 2,000 members. From Oct. 1, on average, there are about 5-7 posts per day seeking recovered patients.
Le Bich Chi, a 32-year-old from Phu Nhuan District, is one of many recovered patients making good use of this opportunity. From the end of July until now, she has taken care of four patients.
“I was infected in early July, so I joined many Covid patients online to share my own experiences of self-treatment,” she said. “After recovering, I saw many people posting that they needed to find people who were cured to take care of their family members and I decided to apply.”
Chi hadn’t worked as a caregiver before. In the midst of being unemployed, having good health after recovering from Covid, she decided to give this job.
“I earn between VND500,000-850,000 a day, depending on the health conditions and how much assistance patients need and whether or not meals are provided,” she revealed.
This is not an easy job as some would think, Chi said.
She noted that ordering delivery food to the hospital, where her client is being treated, can get quite expensive. Not to mention, she is often unable to sleep since sometimes she has to provide assistance in the middle of the night.
“Most people I take care of are elderly and have underlying diseases, so they stay in the hospital for a long period of time. Most of their relatives are still in isolation, or are afraid of possible cross-infection, so they cannot go to the hospital to care for them,” she explained.
Covid survivors are not only trusted and valued for their ability to gain immunity against the virus but also because of their own experiences on how to overcome the illness.
Binh An, 25, from Thu Duc City, was a sanitation worker at a field hospital and got infected with Covid-19 two months ago.
After recovering from the disease, he joined the team of recovered patients to take care of newly infected cases.
“Having gone through infection, I know what Covid patients need. In addition to supporting personal activities, I can also guide them to practice breathing, exercises to quickly recover,” he said.
According to An, the need to find recovered Covid patients is so great that he often has to refuse invitations.
From the beginning of September, HCMC has planned to mobilize and receive volunteers who are recovered patients to join the city’s Covid fight .
“Because of my family’s economic burden, I did not participate in volunteer work but chose to work as a wage earner in order to make ends meet. This is a legitimate job that helps many unemployed people like me during this difficult time,” he said.
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