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On Covid SOS call, Kerala health workers cross river, trek several kilometres to reach tribal village

Last week, three members from one family in the settlement had developed a high fever and were in need of immediate medical attention.

Written by Nithya Pandian | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: May 26, 2021 9:23:39 pm
Kerala covid-19, Kerala doctoros tribal village, Kerala doctors crossing rivers, Kerala Covid-19, Covid-19 Kerala, Kerala doctors tribals Covid-19, Covid-19 news KeralaMembers of the medical team crossing the Bhavani Puzha river. (Express photo)

After receiving an SOS call, a medical team from Puthur Domiciliary Care Centre (DCC) reached a tribal village, which is 20 km from Attapadi in Palakkad and comprises around 100 people of Irula, Mudugar and Kurumba tribes. Last week, three members from one family in the settlement had developed high fever and were in need of immediate medical attention.

The journey to the Murugula village wasn’t, however, easy. The team realised they can use their vehicles only up to the bank of the Bhavani Puzha river and that they had to cross the river on foot thereafter.

Team members crossing the river on foot. (Express photo)

After crossing the river Saturday morning, the team then trekked another eight km inside the Attappadi forest before they reached the village. Once there, they conducted rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 of more than 30 people, of which seven tested covid positive. They were shifted to the Puthur DDC.

Significantly, Dr Sukanya, who was part of the team, besides health inspector Sunil Vasu, junior health inspector Shaij and driver Sajesh, received an appreciation call from Kerala Health Minister Veena George for their work.

To reduce Covid infection and mortality rate, the Kerala government has made many internal medical structure changes since the Covid-19 outbreak last year. DCC is one of the changes.

The medical team at the tribal village. (Express photo)

“Each gram panchayat has its own DCC and it is monitored by a gram. There are 67 villages that function under this Puthur gram panchayat. To reduce the burden on mainline hospitals and dependency on oxygen, the DCCs are utilised vastly in these areas. Now, we have around 120 beds in the Puthur DCC. We are saving more lives with this facility” said Rajan, former Palakkad district panchayat councilor.

Meanwhile, Attapadi-based tribal activist Odiyan Lakshmanan said: “Kerala government’s Domiciliary Care Centers work efficiently. It encourages people to take tests and get vaccinations. We really appreciate the courage of Puthur Domiciliary Care Centre to cross the river by foot.”

According to the Kerala government’s official website, the active caseload as of Monday was 2,59,179. Near;y 18.68% of the population in the state was vaccinated until May 24.

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