Kathua: Doctors and Paramedics around the World are battling Covid-19 daily, but many Covid-19 warriors are risking their lives to ensure that everyone stays safe as the country fights the deadly virus- Dr Shivani Sharma is one of them.
Dr Shivani, who is an expectant mother and a Medical Officer at Community Health Centre, Lakhanpur, has chosen to continue to serve patients amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
In the month of March this year, Dr Shivani got selected for the job and straightway assigned the duty at CHC Lakhanpur which witnessed footfall of passengers arriving through road at Lakhanpur; the main entry point of Jammu & Kashmir besides catering healthcare needs of the surrounding population.
Being at a centrally viable point, CHC Lakhanpur has been testing and providing regular OPD services with the added task of vaccinating people when the government rolled out the drive.
In late-March, when Dr Shivani joined her duty as Medical Officer, she was five months pregnant. “I was really happy but at the same time, a little stressed; I knew that it would be difficult for me as we are in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic. However, I didn’t have a second thought, I never intended to give up my responsibilities and sit at home out of fear.”
Dr Shivani, 30, didn’t want her baby to become the reason for not performing her duties. Family support plays a key role in times like these, she adds. “I live with my in-laws and everyone is supportive of my decision to work while pregnant. My husband who is also a practising doctor says, ‘Helping those in need becomes our first duty and our baby will be safe and protected with their blessings.’
She is now in her eighth month of pregnancy, and says her husband makes sure to pick and drop from day 1 of my joining, check on her every 2-3 hours, reminding her to stay hydrated. “Without fail, my parents and husband call me throughout the day, ask if I’m okay and remind me to not stress, be happy,” she adds.
Shivani reaches her workplace with a bag full of things for healthy munching besides regular Tiffin to accommodate extra craving understandable due to pregnancy.
Although CHC authorities kept Dr Shivani for non Covid duties, she counsel patients who are scared of having similar symptoms although they came out negative in Covid testing. “They fear being infected and sometimes they just want words from doctors that they will be fine”. “Corona brings in a lot of fear and stress among the people”, she added.
With limited and overburdened staff, attending regular OPD without availing any leave is a tough task especially with eight month pregnancy. “My team is helpful, and they make sure I’m not overworked. It feels good when people say that I’m brave, this keeps me motivated,” she says.
Even though I am not directly handling Covid patients but I do follow strict Covid protocol, I wear personal protective equipment (PPE) on duty and try to limit interactions with patients to protect herself and the baby from the virus, Dr Shivani added.
Dr Shivani said she has an opportunity to be at the front and serve people who are in need of care and compassion. “I am giving all my time and professional advice to support my team so that we come out as winners in our fight against covid-19”, she added.