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RAIPUR: Girija Jhalchatri, 35, belongs to the capital Chhattisgarh and is almost half disabled. She is not a front line worker and, unlike them, had the choice to stay at home. But she chose to be with Covid patients at a time when the state is among those worst hit by the pandemic.
At the beginning of April, in view of an acute shortage of beds and an increase in new Covid cases, the state government transformed a large indoor stadium into a special Covid care center with a facility with 330 beds in the state capital. Regardless of her disability, Girja entered the care center on April 13, when 250 patients were admitted on the first day.
She received the registration work which included handling the influx of Covid patients on a daily basis. With a PSA set (Personal Protective Equipment), she supports the patients in their assigned bed on the ward, checks their oxygen content and pulse rate and keeps their records. “I never had the feeling that my disability was a hurdle. When I help people who need urgent medical attention, I am satisfied.
While I am recording information about individual patients, I feel obliged, ”says Girja, who studied up to grade XII. She says her experience working with NGOs helps her in the current job. Her work is voluntary as she refused to receive compensation and works eight hours a day. Her equally constructive role is to advise and extend emotional support to patients who are often frightened after positive tests. “Some of the parents accompanying the patients panic and tend to lose hope.
I listen carefully and engage them in conversation to improve their morale and alleviate immediate hardship. Dealing with older people is a challenge, ”says Girja. Is she not afraid of the infection? “If we strictly adhere to the Covid protocol and continue to devote ourselves to our work, there is no need to worry,” she says. Manjeet Kaur, a social activist, is impressed with Girja’s work. “She is a hardworking woman who supports patients in the recovery process,” says Kaur.