Interview with Denis Jankulovski from the Center for Public Health in Skopje
“It is a fact that in this period of social distancing we see how much we miss the company,” Jankulovski said.
It is not difficult for him to wake up early in the morning with a song, to go to work at the Center for Public Health – Skopje, to be face to face with the invisible enemy for hours, and in the afternoon to kindly help the older tenants of the high-rise building in Skopje where he lives, shopping for the products they need or finding them at home. He didn’t need the chaos with the virus to “awaken” humanity in himself. For the third year in a row, he is devoting his free time to children with autism through the NGO “Autism AAMK”.
His name is Denis Jankulovski, and in the interview for Voices he talks about the challenges that humanity faces during and after the “Covid 19” virus.
Your social media statuses are a hit these days. A medical technician who is at the front line of the fight against the world’s most famous virus – Covid 19, radiates optimism and tries to convey it to citizens through motivational messages or song. Where do you get so much energy from, do you never get tired?
– I get my energy from three places. The family where I have the greatest support, the work which I love and I do with a lot of love and dedication, as well as from all those small but big friends with whom I have been friends for three years and I look forward to seeing them. I want to make my day beautiful, so I give myself a force, but I want to give verve also to those one who have to seat home these days through those statuses of mine, to take there thoughts away from virus, at least for a moment. I want to ‘infect’ them with what I feel, with the feeling of another beautiful day. Fatigue certainly comes, but after I get home after another day on the field, knowing that I have contributed to someone’s health, and at home I come across the smiles of my family and the huge number of wonderful messages from friends, relatives and even some strangers – then everything is forgotten and I look forward to the next day with a smile.
During the day you are in the “spacesuit”, in the afternoon you are at the service of the older neighbors in the high-rise building where you live. You are also the father of a child and a teenager. Do you sometimes fear that the invisible enemy will defeat you or your loved ones?
– Fear always exists because we are all people of flesh and blood and no one is resistant. When we go to the field we are maximally protected, we have full protective equipment, we take swabs being aware that we are close to some potential carriers of the virus and some already proven positive, conscientiously and with a lot of caution we do our job – it gives me and, of course, my other colleagues the assurance that our families are protected.
How do you view people’s behavior after the announcement of the pandemic? Have we become more social and aware of the importance of life and the happiness we have when we are alive, or does selfishness still surface, so that everyone (will) take care of themselves without taking care of the health and needs of others?
– The announcement of the pandemic as well as the activities that will follow after its completion, in my opinion, will lead to several novelties. The fact is that in this period of social distancing we see how much we miss society. However, we are taught not to be alone, perhaps our mentality is the same. But on the other hand, the fact is that there is a lot of selfishness, which, unfortunately, we see these days when we try to point out every day that sitting at home is not in vain, that those two words ‘Sit at home’ are as big meaning. There are selfish people who simply do not follow the recommendations. At the same time, they do not think that first of all they are irresponsible towards themselves and their health, and thus they are selfish and extremely irresponsible to their loved ones, regardless of whether they are family, neighbors, friends and relatives. This is a big problem that, unfortunately, is very present. I believe that life will change. We will become more aware of our health, more cautious, but we must understand that individual health is correlated with collective health. Only with joint cooperation will we be more present on this piece of land. There will be changes in the way and style of living. Will it be for better or worse… time will tell.
As a person directly involved in the events, could you tell us when we can expect to return to “normal life”? In fact, can we predict what “normal life” will be like for us? What things will we have to give up on?
– Ugh, that is the most difficult question for me these days, more precisely the answer. This virus is something new that is happening to us, not to mention “it took us off track.” A normal life, as I said before, will follow in a new form, there will be a new definition of “normal”. It will probably be normal to walk in masks, to avoid too close contacts, it will be normal for 5, 10 or less years for a new “Corona” to reappear from nowhere. There will be cancelling of many things, such as walking and traveling to places where there have been large numbers of people. Caution with a dose of fear will prevail in our lives. But what we should never and will never give up on is a smile.
We will probably all have to learn to live with the virus, but will we have to get to know it up close again in the fall?
– I guess we will have to, but there are those who already are working on finding a vaccine, which I believe will be part of the population protection program. The virus will be domesticated like the seasonal flu, it will pass in a milder form, we will get used to it and we will create antibodies and immunity. Until the next…
You are also the president of the non-governmental organization “Autism AAMK”. How are the children and their parents, how do they endure these times?
– One of the things that I miss in this period is exactly the activities in “Autism AAMK”. Although young, as we have only two years and this is the third year going, however, we can boast of many activities that always aim to raise awareness of people with atypical development, their respect, acceptance and inclusion in society. But here, the ‘corona’ has put us on a bit of a break. Anyway, we are in daily communication with the children and with their parents to see how they spend their days. Believe that they, like all other children, have a hard time, they miss kindergardens, schools, parks, they miss their friends. Families, knowing their daily rituals and interests, try to make their days easy to overcome, and of course we are here to help as much as we can. I am in this period through those fun and motivating videos.