Visakhapatnam: Invincible warriors slog it out
Sans protective gear, ANMs, ASHA workers conduct survey
Visakhapatnam: It is a daily ordeal for R Pushpa, an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) to reach her health sub centre at Dokuluru to sign in for the day's work before commencing the door-to-door survey.
Braving tough terrains, she attends to her duty that lasts not less than seven to eight hours sans a mask or a pair of gloves. "There is always an element of fear staring at us every time we knock the door to identify those with symptoms of novel coronavirus and create awareness about the pandemic apart from the regular health survey we carry out.
However, risky it might be, we continue to render services when there is a dire need," elaborates Pushpa.
Like Pushpa, an army of ANMs, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and village volunteers in the Agency area has to trek for hours to collect the data, visiting villages pinpoint-wise and communicate the same to their respective health sub centres by the end of the day.
Although for some health workers, their stoles turn out to be a protective gear at the moment, their daily tasks were being carried out without guarding themselves with masks and gloves. "Protective gear is a must for us as we contact the locals directly. Despite our repeated requests, we are yet to receive masks and gloves. Hence, we decided to pool funds to stitch masks for the team as that is our primary requirement now," explains K Suseela, ANM at Gudivada health sub centre. She along with her team recently completed surveying 100 houses.
Most of the team's work starts at 8:30 am. They pack lunch from home as there will not be any food available outside due to the lockdown. "If conducting a survey where there are no proper approach roads is one part of the challenge we face, spending hours in the field without visiting a washroom is another ordeal we come across on a regular basis. Deserted areas at times become our temporary washrooms but even then, it is quite scary as you never know when will a fox or a snake or a bear would attack us," says an ASHA worker from Kadeli village, Paderu.
As the world continues its fight against the pandemic, frontline health workers are exposed to more risk as they slog it out by scaling hilly terrains, working for hours sans protective gear or basic amenities.