Covid-19: A tale of two in adversity- healthcare workers and returnee in Nagaland
Our ReporterDimapur, June 6 (EMN): Healthcare workers and people who are in the care of the medical community are two different versions of the same suffering. As Covid-19 rages across the world, healthcare and medical workers are one of the primary lines of defence against the pandemic. Then there are the people — from citizens to ‘returnees’ — the health frontline is taking care of.
Wichun was an employee of Magnolias, a company in Gurugram in Haryana, and one of the thousands of people from the Northeast who returned after being stranded outside the region since the nationwide lockdown commenced. She returned to Nagaland on May 25.
When the lockdown was implemented, she said, the company suddenly shut down and the owner informed her not to attend work.
Wichun then began worrying about her brother who had just arrived at Gurugram for work. But before he could join, the lockdown was announced. Because she had had to take care of her brother as well as pay rent, it was difficult for her financially. But somehow she managed through her savings from a providential fund from her previous job.
She said that she had applied for the special package provided by the government but did not receive any money. However, she received rations thrice from the Catholic church and the Zeliangrong Students’ Union.
If the lockdown continued more than four or five months, it would be difficult for her to manage. So, she decided to come back to Nagaland. Moreover, her brother was new to the place and her parents asked her to come back too.
Wichun recalled that on May 20, she received a call from the authorities that her ticket had been confirmed. She was asked to report on May 22. On May 21, she reached a place called the Devilal complex for the night. The room was congested as there were people from Meghalaya and Assam too and the weather was humid, while mosquitoes also were one of the problems.
She said they did not receive proper food while waiting for the train. The food, which was prepared to last for three days, lasted for only two days as she had to share with others too, she said. She struggled a lot during the journey, she said, but expressed happiness and relief when she reached Nagaland.
When queried about the quarantine centre she is in, Wichun informed that they are the ‘luckiest ones to be staying in’ (Livingstone quarantine centre). She expressed gratitude to God for his blessings. She said it’s been almost 10 days in the quarantine centre for her. She now wants to work in Nagaland if she gets the opportunity to work in hospital receptions so that she can contribute. However, if there is no job opportunity, it would be difficult to stay in Nagaland, she said.
Another person, Haiungkam who was working as a teacher in Rajasthan, is quarantined in Dimapur. She did not receive her salary since the owner of the school was facing financial problems due to the lockdown. However, she was provided with food and lodging by the school authority. It was a relief for them during the lockdown.
Haiungkam said she was worried staying in Rajasthan because no one knew when the lockdown would be lifted.
During the journey, she fortunately did not face any difficulties because she was well-prepared for it. She received the special assistance of INR 4000 provided by the government of Nagaland for stranded people.
Haiungkam felt relieved when she reached Nagaland. However, at the moment in the quarantine centre, she is little bit worried and does not feel that secure — the returnees from Chennai are still lodged in the ground floor of the building.
She informed that when dinner, launch and breakfast are provided, it is served at the entrance of all the returnees and floor-wise. She has a concern: Food is served from the same table at the entrance room for every returnee. This might spread the virus because everyone comes and takes the food from the same table.
She has requested the authorities to provide hand sanitiser not only at the common entrance room but at every floor because people there share a common washroom. She added that it’s been seven days at the quarantine centre. The caretakers provide every meal on time, she said, expressing appreciation for the punctuality.
A medical worker in Dimapur, who requested anonymity, said that his work shift is 24/7. He has to be on duty whenever situation arises. The worker is currently staying at a lodge. He can go home as there are no restrictions as of now but it is always wiser to not go home as a precaution.
When asked about the challenges healthcare workers face when on duty, he said the number of returnees from the military is huge in number. 50 to 60 percent are military returnees and it is one of the challenges, he said.
Further, the worker opined that it would be much better if the military takes care of the personnel within the same setup. He explained that the workers there already have a huge number of ‘Nagaland returnees’ to take care of.
Also, the worker is happy that food is provided by the food committee, and sometimes his near and dear ones too send.
The challenges aside, the worker said he is willing to help and give time to people though there are risks involved and not having ‘personal life’ like before. It has been two months staying away from his family, but through video calls, he is keeping touch with his loved ones.
He believes that he is doing a good work for the people.