"Not Scared": Once Migrants, Bengal Covid Survivors Now Work In Hospitals

"We take care of the patients on ventilation in the CCU. Some can't eat by themselves, they can't sit up. We help them. And they bless us," Khudhu Sheikh says

Since June 30 around 1,800 Covid survivors have been recruited by the state government

Kolkata:

In Bengal a group of COVID-19 survivors have joined doctors and nurses at government hospitals in helping care for people still infected by the virus.   

Many of them are migrant labourers who used to work either at tile factories in Gujarat, in the construction industry in Chennai or at hotels in Bengaluru. Now they have found a new calling - bringing non-medical succour to patients stuck in COVID-19 ICUs.  

The Bengal government is paying them a stipend and they have become newfound family members for the patients. 

At the busy COVID-19 CCU at ID Beleghata Hospital, Bengal's top state-run institute for infectious diseases, two of these Covid survivors are hard at work.  

Khudhu Sheikh, 24, and Rajib Sheikh, 27, are proud members of the Covid Warriors Club set up by the state government.   

"We take care of the patients on ventilation in the CCU. Some can't eat by themselves, they can't sit up. We help them. And they bless us all the time," Khudhu Sheikh says.  

"If everyone gets scared... doctors and nurses... then who will treat the patients. We are not scared at all," Rajib Sheikh adds. 

Newsbeep

They were masons, tile makers and hotel workers in their past lives. Today, with the grim reality of the coronavirus pandemic all around, and as survivors of the virus, they have rediscovered themselves.  

Since June 30 around 1,800 Covid survivors have been recruited by the state government, given a crash course by experts in basic patient care and deployed across the state - 60 of them work in Kolkata and another 160 in different districts.  

When asked if non-medical personnel can be allowed inside the Covid wards, Dr Jogiraj Ray, the CCU in-charge of the hospital, replies: "Why not?"  

"Why not inside the ward? What rocket science work we do? So these people have time to talk to the patients who are on oxygen, say for seven days to 15 days. They are like family right now," he declared.  

Indeed, for Covid patients in ICUs who can't see or speak to their family, the Covid Warriors are a lifeline. 

And doctors and nurses say they are giving the patients the one thing they need most - psychological support to deal with the Covid infection and the fear and isolation that comes with it.