Corona warriors of Batote taking on COVID through proper precautions, positive thinking


Ramban: As the phone rings continuously, Dr. Puneet Singh is constantly taking the calls of home isolated patients at the busy Community Health Centre (CHC), Batote.

CHC Batote being the only health facility catering to the entire population of Batote in present times of pandemic has thrown tremendous pressure on the doctors.

Dr. Puneet’s family is in Jammu so the hospital has virtually transformed into his makeshift home with duties starting from as early as 8 a.m. in the morning to sometimes past midnight.

“Away from my parents, grand-parents, siblings and being continuously under work pressure, one does not even have the solace of offering prayers”, says Dr. Puneet Singh, Medical Officer, at CHC, Batote. ‘My only inner-satisfaction comes from rendering the best possible treatment to those who come to the health centre. I see the reflection of my parents and grandparents while treating the old patients and image of my siblings in young patients’, he adds.

In the fight against Covid-19, Ramban district has been one of the front runners despite limitations of staff, resources and infrastructure in this remote hilly area. This all is being achieved due to an efficient and cohesive team effort of Corona Health Warriors like doctors, para-medical staff and the staff of other departments deputed for the purpose.
Dr. Puneet Singh giving details of his daily work routine said that besides his routine duty in Casualty, OPD and Emergency Ward, he also has to visit Quarantine Centers besides handling of Covid related administrative meetings.

“Donning PPE kit for about 8 hours daily and telephonically attending all the home quarantine patients , which at present are 179 in Batote, is a rigorous job,” he said. He adds that there are patients coming regularly with mild symptoms who are being referred for home quarantine. There are people who are only seeking medical advice because of anxiety and are being given consultation on the telephone.

“Long duty hours without any break including emergency duties and occasionally doing double duty from 8 am to 2pm and then from 8pm to 8am next day besides night duties twice a week is also affecting my health,” he said. Dr. Puneet added that for doctors also it is advisable to take regular exercise and a healthy diet with lots of fluids.

All those working in health institutions need to take all the precautions of using a mask, following hand hygiene and social distancing. ”We can win the battle against Corona with precautions, confidence and positive thinking”, he says.

Another Corona Health Warrior from Ramban district Dr. Rajesh Kumar Kotwal, MO, PHC, Bhatni of Batote Block was back on the front after fighting his battle against the deadly virus. He had tested positive earlier on but resumed his duties after the arduous task of fighting the virus.

Speaking about his facility in the district, he said that till April 7, 2021 he had completed 96% Covid vaccination in Bhatni area which was the best record in the entire district.

During the prevailing pandemic he has been actively involved in vaccination campaigns, besides his normal duties including indoor duties like OPD, IPD, emergency and pharmacy. He is also heading the Mother Child Care (MCH) and other national health programmes like immunization in the area.
Sharing his experiences he said that prior to his job in Government sector, he had worked in some charitable hospitals. The inspiration for serving in this remote and obscure hilly village with meager amenities, poor tele-communication comes from his experience in the charitable hospital.

“Though I have been extra cautious in not getting infected with Covid for which I had bought my own PPE kit as soon as the Covid had broken out earlier last year and took all precautions, yet I got infected with Covid.”

“While under treatment for Covid at GMC, Jammu, I had not only attended the Covid patients of my own family but also helped the Covid patients in the same ward by guiding them in Prone Exercises and with other suggestions which relieved many in emergency”, Dr. Rajesh said.