Ireland is making the headlines all over the world for positive reasons with news that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a doctor to assist the brave Irish nurses, doctors and frontline healthcare workers. Varadkar will work one session a week to contribute during the coronavirus outbreak.
This proactive leadership and demonstrable hands-on action in the fight against the global pandemic has shone a light on Ireland once again for the stand-out approach of, the Irish leader, healthcare and frontline workers, politicians and the population in tackling COVID 19.
They say travel broadens the mind, and while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was born in Ireland, his recent week-long private visit to his family's ancestral village of Maharashtra in West India to ring in 2020 is also said to have crystallised his views and core values. The India visit was described as a 'very special moment', in the company of his family to celebrate his fathers 90th birthday. While the Taoiseach has visited India several times, this was his first visit to Varad, the place his father Dr Ashok Varadkar hails from.
This time away to reflect, coupled with the massive and sudden impact of COVID 19 ensured that he promptly decided to re-join the medical register as a practical way to show his support. Varadkar is the son of a doctor and nurse, his partner Matt Barrett is a cardiologist, and his two sisters and their husbands all work in the health service. "Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out, even in a small way", said a Government spokesperson.
Before entering politics, Mr Varadkar studied medicine and worked as a doctor for seven years. He has re-joined the medical register, which he first joined in July 2004, as part of an appeal by the Health Service Executive (HSE) for all healthcare professionals not working in the profession to register in a mass recruitment drive to deal with the crisis. Some 50,000 people appealed in less than three days.
The Taoiseach is understood to plan to help out in telephone assessments as those who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are initially assessed over the phone rather than in-person to curb the spread of the virus.
Dealing with a pandemic is not for the faint hearted but Varadkar, Simon Harris and CMO Tony Holohan along with all our medical and hospital staff are working tirelessly to save every single life.