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Rajasthan: Women doctors who went to check coronavirus suspects in Jodhpur accused of being CAA-NRC surveyors due to rumours and misinformation

The residents who suspected them of tacitly collecting data for NRC and CAA almost hounded them away. However, the team of medical professionals continued their efforts, adapting local language and conversation style to win the trust of people.

A medical team with women doctors and auxiliary nurse midwife’s (ANM) were entrusted with the task of searching for patients with suspected coronavirus symptoms in Nagauri Gate and Udayamandir Asan areas in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Initially, their endeavour was trumped by the residents who suspected them of tacitly collecting data for CAA-NRC and almost hounded them away.

However, with the sheer presence of mind and perseverance, the women medical team managed to gain access to the households and conducted medical tests on the locals. As a result, several coronaviruses positive cases have now been reported from these areas. This team of women medical staff was felicitated by the district collector, Prakash Rajpurohit for accomplishing the impossible. A report in the Dainik Bhaskar has detailed the selfless work done by a team of women corona warriors in Rajasthan.

After learning the accent and style of conversation of the local people, the women’s medical team first won the local peoples’ trust and then collected their blood samples on the pretext of setting up a medical camp for a general health check-up. Dainik Bhaskar got in touch with these women medical warriors who shared their experience with the Hindi daily.

Medical team accused of conducting survey for CAA and NRC:

While speaking to Dainik Bhaskar, Dr Hina Aftab recollected that she had reached Nagauri Gate on March 31. The medical team she was leading were tasked with scouting for people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus in the village. “I prepared the survey strategy as soon as I joined there”, said the doctor, “but the real challenge started when the team approached villagers with the intent to educate them with the dos and don’ts and conduct medical tests on as many villagers as we could”, she added.

The locals were evasive and non-cooperative. They all surrounded the team of doctors and started hounding them, asking to leave. They were confused because of the rumoured Whatsapp messages they were receiving on their phones, recounted the doctor. The locals told her that they were tricking them and conducting CAA-NRC survey. As soon as they would give out any kind of personal information, they would be taken away from their village, said the locals. They kept hounding the doctors asking them to leave.

In such a situation, conducting medical tests was a far-fetched idea as they were not even willing to give away the information required to fill the survey form. The team could not gain access to even one household on the first day.

The next day, Dr Aftab got hold of two locals who could speak to them in their local language and convince the residents that they were not surveyors but doctors who were there to save their lives from the pandemic.

We had to first accomplish the mammoth task of gaining their confidence by speaking to them in their accent and language and then clearing their misconceptions. It was only after we succeeded in this, that we were allowed to conduct the medical tests on them, recollected Dr Aftab. After much deliberation, we made the locals understand the importance of washing and sanitising hands and social distancing to save themselves from the coronavirus infection, recounted Dr Aftab.

Team divided themselves into three groups, detected more than 30 cases:

Dr Aftab divided her team into three smaller teams and started approaching the residents in their local way. “This made them understand our point. We started catering to their daily needs of food, medicine and other problems, to gain their trust. Once we succeeded in doing so, we, called them on the pretext of helping her team to set up a medical camp in the community hall. The crowd started gathering there. We started screening them and started taking blood samples of all those who appeared suspicious. As a result, two and more positive cases started coming out every day from the Nagauri Gate district. After filtering out more than 30 cases from here, we are filtering this area again. Survey has been done here thrice. There is a lack of education in this area, due to which they do not cooperate”, said the doctor to Dainik Bhaskar.

Team caught coronavirus positive Ayub Ali holed up in his house:

ANM Shobha of Udayamandir region said that it was a difficult challenge for them to work in the area. She recollects that she had to join the Anganwadi centre, Asha Sahyogini Nargis to conduct the survey with them. She said that she interacted with the locals in their language and gained their trust. She was then informed by few locals that one Ayub Ali, a coronavirus suspect has been hiding in his house. After much hardships, ANM Shobha managed to get Ali’s address and visited his place. He was suffering from a sore throat. Shobha got Ali tested on April 10 and his report came out positive on 12 April. After this, positive cases started coming in this area continuously. “Despite this, people here do not cooperate with us, tell us to go away and accuse us of spreading coronavirus,” said ANM Shobha.

The Coronavirus test slip worked as an invitation card:

ANM Hemlata Vyas recounts how the coronavirus test slips worked as an invitation card for the villagers. She visited locals in Udayamandir region and wrote her number at the back of the coronavirus test slips telling people to get in touch with her if they required free medicines or any other assistance. The locals started contacting her for help. “Eventually, the families started sending their sick family members to the clinic for testing. This strategy worked with these villagers and as a result many coronavirus positive cases were reported from this district,” recounted ANM Hemlata Vyas.

The ground-level health workers express pleasure that their efforts are finally paying off, and coronavirus positive cases are being reported in the area, in addition to increased awareness among the local public over personal hygiene.

As per latest reports, Rajasthan has 969 confirmed cases of the Chinese pandemic. 147 persons have recovered while 3 persons have died so far.

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