Mexico City: Disinfecting emergency rooms, collecting hazardous waste and washing contaminated laundry, Mexican hospital cleaners risk their lives every day during the pandemic, often with little recognition.
Rodolfo Diaz and his colleagues disinfect and wash thousands of sheets and gowns from hospitals in the Mexican capital every day. “We try to protect ourselves every day as a team to do our job. But I think we’re prepared for it because we like our work,” said the 53-year-old Diaz, who wears a mask, goggles, gloves and other personal protective equipment.
Erika Ramirez helps to oversee the cleaning of an intensive care unit at a military hospital in the south of Mexico City that treats Covid-19 patients. The 23-year-old soldier’s work includes dealing with infectious waste such as syringes or gauze, and sanitizing other parts of the facility, so she wears a protective suit. Ramirez said that due to long work days of up to 24 hours, she has missed her daughters’ birthdays, but she believes it is part of serving her country.
“It’s worth not having a family gathering because we’re doing an important job,” she said.
Amnesty International said in a report this month that hospital cleaners in Mexico were “especially vulnerable to infection,” noting that outsourcing means such workers have less protection.