December 2019, saw the emergence of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Since then the virus has spread to over 150 countries globally. The Pandemic has affected many facets of life, some of them being the industrial aspect of life. Many businesses have been forced to temporarily shut down, however, some of them may be forced to shut down permanently. Some occupations have however been deemed necessary during this lockdown period, the rationale being major operations may not be carried out if they are non- operational. In this article, we look at some of these occupations deemed as essential during this pandemic.
The healthcare industry
The healthcare industry is made up of different health care providers and caregivers. Workers are providing COVID-19 testing and workers that perform critical clinical research and development needed for COVID-19 response. These workers are working tirelessly to ensure rapid response to the pandemic. The pandemic has seen the healthcare industry on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic, in the process risking their own lives to see others.
Emergency services industry
The emergency services industry is made up of highly-skilled, trained personnel, along with the physical and cyber resources, that provide a wide range of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery services during both day-to-day operations and incident response. This industry has been critical in fighting the pandemic through its continued provision of emergency services through the various regions. Some of the essential workforce in this industry include law Enforcement, who are working to enforce measures that have been put in place to further reduce the spread of the highly contagious virus.
The agro-processing sector
This sector is composed of complex production, processing, and delivery systems and has the capacity to feed large amounts of people at a given time. In a country whose economy is largely agro-based, this sector is essential in keeping a country’s GDP afloat. Beyond domestic food production, agro-processing also imports many ingredients and finished products, leading to a complex web of growers, processors, suppliers, transporters, distributors, and consumers. This sector is critical to maintaining and securing food supply within a country. This is why industries like Delta Beverages in Zimbabwe have been listed among essential service providers and have remained open during the lockdown period.
The energy sector
The energy sector consists of widely-diverse assets and systems that are often interdependent on one another. This critical infrastructure is divided into three subsectors—electricity, oil, and natural gas—to include the production, refining, storage, and distribution of oil, gas, and electric power, except for hydroelectric and commercial nuclear power facilities and pipelines. The energy sector supplies fuels to the transportation industry, electricity to households and businesses, and other sources of energy that are integral to growth and production across the nation. Without the electricity in homes, people would be unable to access vital information that will help them in staying safe against the pandemic. The electricity also comes in handy as most people have been forced to work from their homes.
Communication and information technology sector
Communication networks enable people around the world to contact one another, access information instantly, and communicate from remote areas. Technology is changing at a rapid pace, increasing the number of products, services, service providers, and communication options. Effective communication is essential in the dissemination of information to people across the globe in a short space of time. The IT sector provides products and services that support the efficient operation of today's global information-based society and is integral to the operations and services provided by other critical infrastructure Sectors. Information technology allows people access to the internet which has been a vital source of information during this pandemic. Communication and the IT sector are working together to ensure people receive information from all parts of the world.
Lindah Mavengere is a Business Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
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