This Article is From Mar 19, 2020

"We Don't Panic": Kerala Nurses In Frontline Of War Against Coronavirus

Coronavirus: "I have been working for nearly two months in the isolation ward. We chose this profession because we are committed and dedicated..." Kerala medical professional Shiny Cherian told NDTV

Coronavirus: Kerala's Shiny Cherian and others are in frontline in battle against COVID-19


As 34-year-old Shinu Cherian is dropped off at the General Hospital by her husband, it's here that for the last one-and-a-half months she is part of a team of 15 others on her shift who have been working at the isolation ward for suspected Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 cases.

According to a senior officer, a team of 40 medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, have been set apart to only deal with the suspect cases at the ward dedicated for coronavirus at this district-level hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, operational since the end of January.

If found positive, they are shifted to the isolation ward in Medical College, which is a tertiary level hospital, with another set of dedicated COVID-19 team in place.

"The outpatient ward can get very busy with 90-120 people coming to be screened a day. The General Hospital at present has 29 individual rooms with attached bathrooms for suspect cases getting admitted. Since the beginning of the coronavirus isolation ward in January-end, some 80 patients have been admitted in total," said the senior officer.

"I have been working for nearly two months in the isolation ward. We chose this profession because we are committed and dedicated. We see a lot of patients suffer. When we don't panic, and interact with them well, they themselves feel relieved. We must remember they can't talk to their family in person, they only have us," Shiny Cherian told NDTV soon after leaving home for the hospital for her shift.

A mother of two, Ms Shinu said they follow a lot of precautions at the isolation ward. "We have a fixed protocol for all, starting from housekeeping staff to the doctors, on what to do," Ms Shinu said.

"The hospital has been very supportive too. After duty, we change out of our contaminated clothes, de-contaminate it and have bath and only then return to our homes and touch our children with all precautions," said Ms Shinu when asked if she is keeping distance from her children. "My family, especially my husband, has been a huge motivation," she said.

In another district, Alappuzha, 32-year-old Sneha Baby is one of the nurses who helped the treatment of a positive patient at Alappuzha Medical College. "I was fortunate to be part of the team treating coronavirus suspects. Working six hours continuously with personal protection equipment was tough, and was eventually reduced. As a nurse who has seen a patient recover completely, I must say there is no need to be afraid of the coronavirus. Listen to the Kerala government," she said.

Doctors, nurses and other health workers are recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as heroes and the long battle against this pandemic is only just beginning.