Eight-months pregnant doctor travels 30 kms daily to attend to patients amid coronavirus in Andhra- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

VIZIANAGARAM: She is into her eighth month of pregnancy but instead of resting at home, she
travels almost 30 km every day to the remote Devupalli Public healthcare centre in Vizianagaram district to attend to patients coming from over 30 villages. Dr S Jhansi (33), medical officer at the PHC, does so with a sense of duty and without seeking attention.

“Since there are no private clinics in Devupalli and surrounding villages, people depend solely on the PHC. I have been working at the PHC for the last one-and-a-half years and people rely on the health services at this PHC,” Dr Jhansi says in a matter of fact way in a free-wheeling chat with TNIE.

Transport is a major problem due to the lockdown but she takes time to go on house visits also in the tribal villages to check on patients, especially pregnant women, and possible coronavirus cases. Among her patients are seven foreign-returnees who have been home quarantined. She has also treated 10 patients with symptoms of COVID-19 at the PHC.

“We have shifted about 10 pregnant women to the PHC for delivery in the last 10 days,” she informs.

Apart from deliveries, people suffering from BP, diabetes and other ailments come to the hospital regularly for treatment. But it is the foreign-returnees and patients with coronavirus symptoms who pose a challenge.

“There are about seven foreign returnees in the purview of the PHC under home quarantine who are being monitored strictly. While attending to persons visiting the hospital and visits to villages, I found COVID-19 symptoms in about 10 people and referred them to the district hospital for further COVID-19 tests. Luckily, they all tested negative,” Dr Jhansi reveals.

Wasn’t it risky, considering she is pregnant too? “I use mask and wear gloves supplied by the government. Similarly, I also clean hands regularly with sanitisers,” she replies, adding that she stays away from the four quarantine centres in the Bondapalli mandal. But that is because the centres have special officers. Implied in the answer is her willingness to work there too should the need arise.

Dr Jhansi has the option of taking maternity leave as she entered into the third trimester but decided not to proceed on leave. Instead, she prefers to do her job in the crisis situation. In this, she is well-supported by her family. Her husband Dr Prasanth is also a doctor and works at the Kodavelagala PHC in Nellimerla in the district.

“My husband supports me even in critical conditions like these. It is only because of his support that I am able to attend to my duties,” she says and adds after a pause: “In the present situation, people treat doctors as God. It is my duty to serve at this critical juncture.”

Prior to joining the Devupalli PHC, Dr Jhansi had worked for six years in a remote tribal area at Ramachodavaram in East Godavari district. She completed her MBBS from the NRI medical college in Mangalagiri in 2009. Her husband echoes her views. “As doctors, we have to treat patients under any circumstances and my wife is living up to the expectations.”

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