Saturday, April 1

29 unemployed migrant workers beat Covid, join state in battle against virus

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A group of jobless migrant workers — all Covid-19 survivors — have been roped in by the West Bengal government in its corona battle. They have joined Covid hospitals in the city as attendants from Tuesday. Their job includes morale boosting of Covid positive patients, interacting with patients’ relatives, helping patients to eat and head to washroom.

The men are part of a “Covid warrior club” set up by the West Bengal government at Berhampore in Murshidabad, comprising people who have recovered from the disease and are willing to aid the administration and health workers in containing the pandemic. Twenty-nine such survivors were brought to Kolkata on Monday and from Tuesday, they joined service at five Covid hospitals in the city.

“It’s a great initiative. What Covid patients need the most is confidence and seeing those who had fought and won the disease right in front of them can work wonders. The initiative will also help these warriors get rid of any social stigma associated with the disease and will help them in re-employment,” said Sisir Naksar, superintendent of MR Bangur Hospital, where four such warriors joined duty on Tuesday. They were felicitated by the hospital officials and they will begin work from Wednesday.

Indranil Biswas, superintendent of Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, where six Covid warriors joined on Tuesday too lauded the effort. “Their presence will instil positive vibes among the patients. We will also make them work very closely with the patients helping them with their daily needs,” he said.

The 29 men — all of whom had been jobless — will be paid a monthly stipend of Rs 15,000 for two months, following which the government will decide on whether or not to permanently include them in the state healthcare system.

“Back in Mumbai, I used to earn around Rs 25,000 per month working as a mason. Post lockdown, we came back to Murshidabad in a truck with a host of others from the state on May 16. I was tested and the result was positive. After I was cured and released from hospital, I was looking for work and then I was offered to serve the state as a Covid warrior. I agreed not only because the stipend money will help me tide over the financial crisis, but it will also help me to serve the state,” said Mahabul Sheikh (33) who joined duty at KPC Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday.

On June 29, chief minister Mamata Banerjee spoke about the initiative and had said more such clubs are being formed across the state from where healthy Covid warriors will be picked to serve at hospitals, specially attending to Covid patients.

The 29 men are being kept at the youth hostel in Salt Lake stadium from where they will be transported to different hospitals every day. “Initially, I was in two minds as I knew that there is still a small chance of re-contracting the disease. But, after speaking to the doctors, I came to know about the precautions and I am ready to serve as an attendant,” said Bapan Dewan, a 25-year-old youth from Murshidabad, who had recently been to Mumbai in search of work. “If we get a permanent posting after this two-month stint, I will not have to leave my home state ever for work,” said Dewan, who joined at MR Bangur Hospital.

Source:Times of India

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