Ganderbal/Kupwara, June 13: Very few people possess a spirit to serve humanity, particularly in a crisis situation.
Here is the story of two women from two different districts of Kashmir, whose sheer grit and determination led them to help people fight Covid-19.
Babli Rani, a government school teacher hailing from Bhaderwah area posted in Ganderbal district tested positive for Covid in July last year and recovered 10 days later.
After her recovery from the deadly virus, Rani became determined to become a covid warrior, which saw her being deployed on Covid duty as a member of a surveillance team. Picking up the basic skills in the team, her grit finally led Rani to become a frontline health worker.
For her work, Rani was honoured with a certificate of appreciation by Director Health Kashmir on 7th June 2021.
For last one year, Rani has been serving selflessly to help people fight the deadly virus. She is part of a sampling team which collects samples from the people in remote areas.
“I tested positive last year and was put in a quarantine centre, where actually a new phase of my life started,” Rani told Greater Kashmir.
“From that day on the routine of my life changed as if I was not a teacher but always a health worker,” she says.
Initially, Rani went to different areas for Covid surveillance work, but the passion in her led Rani to get training from the technicians.
“I started doing the tests and now have gained a lot of experience in sample collection. I have collected over 10,000 RAT and RT-PCR samples,” she says.
“Our sampling team used to go from one village to another in different blocks to get samples of people inflicted by the virus,” she says. “I was tasked to take samples, maintain data of Covid positives and conduct their contact tracing. I have been doing this for the last one year now.”
Frontline worker Parveeza Khan from Hanjishart village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district has been working as Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker since 5 July 2006.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the work of ASHAs has increased manifold.
According to Parveeza, she along with her colleagues has been working tirelessly to help fight Covid-19.
Parveeza, who has been working in the Health department for the past 15 years says that initially the ASHA workers had to perform the duties of maternity care and vaccination to newborn but with the passage of time their workload doubled manifold.
“Our services did not remain confined to only maternal care. At present we are working at par with other health workers. Rather, at times, we have to work for 12 hours at a stretch,” she says.
Parveeza says that ASHA workers had not only been rendering services of maternal care but had to keep track of every health-related problem in their jurisdiction.
“Besides Pulse Polio duty we are being directed every now and then to keep track of TB patients and other patients involved in lifelong ailments,” she says. Parveeza said that an ASHA worker had to depute herself for three days a week at the nearest health centre to perform different duties.
Parveeza said that after the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, the work of ASHA workers had doubled to the extent that their household chores were getting affected.
“Since the Covid vaccine process has started I along with my fellow colleagues am convincing people of our respective jurisdiction to take the jab and we have successfully administered vaccine to thousands of people,” she says.
Talking about inadequate salary and lack of safety measures to ASHA workers, she says that an ASHA worker was being paid only Rs 2000 per month which in no means fulfils their demands.
“Up to 2012 we would get Rs 800 as incentive per delivery, Rs 600 for maternal care and Rs 200 for vaccination to the newborn. The incentives were enhanced later but not to the level of our satisfaction,” she says.
“I am unable to figure out that when we are working at par with other Covid-19 warriors, why we are being provided only Rs 1000 as Covid incentives,” she says.
“We are asked to meet Covid-19 positive patients and most of the contact tracing is being done by us. However, we are not being provided Covid-19 related safety measures including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits,” she says.