NUR-SULTAN – The “We Will Win This Together” exhibition of paintings and photographs dedicated to frontline medical workers opened at the Kazakh Central State Museum in Almaty on June 11, reported the press service of the museum.
The exhibition showcases Kazakh photographer Ruslan Mazunin’s close-up portraits of medical workers who have been tirelessly treating COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic in Nur-Sultan’s hospitals. Photographs of doctors working at the Almaty Children’s Clinical Infectious Disease Hospital and at the Almaty Phthisiopulmonology Center during the pandemic are also displayed at the exhibition.
“The first coronavirus patient was admitted on April 12. I remember it very well. Then we, similar to the whole world, had very little information about what kind of virus it was and how to treat it. I will not deny that we ourselves were afraid of it but we did not think about ourselves. There was no time. We needed to save people,” said Head of the Intensive Care Unit of the Phthisiopulmonology Center Gulmira Ainakuzova.
For the first few months of the pandemic, Kazakh medical workers had to isolate themselves from their family and loved ones, which added an extra layer of stress to the situation. In addition to the heavy task of providing medical help, frontline workers also had to calm down patients, explain symptoms of the new virus and often deliver sad news to the families.
“Our work changed overnight. We were told that now we will not be able to live at home and no one knew how long it would last. We received people, not only children but adults as well, with COVID-19 of varying severity. Many people needed psychological help in addition to medical help. It was necessary to explain to people that even if they got sick, everything would be fine. Many worried and experienced panic. We were in touch with patients and their relatives around the clock in order to provide information or support at any time. I, like other doctors, gave my private number so that I could be contacted at any time,” said Perizat Sarsen, an Almaty-based pediatrician.
Despite the losses and general tensions, medical workers managed to save many lives even when cases seemed to be almost hopeless. Seeing patients, who had previously been in great danger, recover helped doctors and nurses to keep going.
“I remember one patient well. At first, he was very skeptical, thought that this was the end and God came to take him away. We treated him effectively and talked to him a lot to make him believe in himself. A positive attitude during an illness is very important. As a result, he recovered from the coronavirus. Of course, such stories are always encouraging but the coronavirus has not yet been defeated. That is why it is very important that as many people as possible get vaccinated. This is the only way to stop a life-threatening pandemic. We must understand that today we and only we are responsible for ourselves, the health of our loved ones and society as a whole,” said Sarsen.
The exhibition also showcases the personal protective equipment (PPE) of the medical workers and artworks of Kazakh artists dedicated to the frontline workers. The displayed works include paintings by Georgy Li, Tamara Elfimova and Dzhokhar Ismailov, as well as children’s drawings about doctors fighting the pandemic.