Dr Smitha Segu, the nodal officer at Bangalore Medical College & Research (BMCRI), has been regularly going to the hospital for the past few months. While she had her own vehicle, she was apprehensive about using it. And even when she did, it didn’t feel convenient as she had to take a lot of calls.
Her colleague, Dr Smitha KS, is on a week-long duty in the Covid ward. “Keeping the car on campus wasn’t helping the family, and travelling back after that wasn’t as safe, due to the fear of spreading the virus. “I used to ask my husband to pick me up, which made us very apprehensive,” says the Assistant Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology at the institute.
Ever since the pandemic struck, healthcare professionals have had to face a number of challenges, and organisations have stepped up to fill some gaps by providing PPE kits and face shields. Now, MotherPod — a shared mobility solutions company, run by ex-servicemen — has come up with ‘Sainiks for Doctors’, a voluntary initiative where they are picking and dropping doctors on Covid-19 duty. Starting with BMCRI, it will soon be extended to hospitals in other metro cities.
“During the initial days of the lockdown, we were facing problems with terms of mobility and had arranged BMTC buses. Women staff were facing problems since many don’t have a vehicle of their own, and those on night shift also faced trouble,” said Dr Jayanthi CR, Dean and Director, BMCRI.
“Considering the Covid-19 scenario, heightened security measures and standards have become critical for healthcare workers. Ex-defence personnel come with a certain work culture and are trained to follow discipline. They imbibe a sense of trust, reliability and dedication, and can ensure a safe commute for health professionals,” said Capt Sanjay Kumar Singh, Head of Partnerships, MotherPod, a two-year-old company working with a focus on helping defence veterans settle into civilian careers. Through this initiative, they aim to offer safe, secure and sanitised transit service for health workers.
“We applaud our servicemen as they are on the frontline, and this is very thoughtful of them. There is so much tension in our lives right now, at least we don’t have to worry about our pick and drop,” said Dr Segu. Adds Dr Smitha KS, “This initiative works because there is no interaction between the driver and the rider; there is a partition between the front and the rear, and the interiors are sanitised after every ride.”
Ex-serviceman Srinivasa A, who has served in the Indian Army for 17 years, and Suresh PN, who was with Border Security Force for 14 years, are now riders with the company, and volunteers with this initiative. “We have served in very tough situations during the course of our careers, hence, there we don’t feel any fear while stepping out of our house, and are ready to serve the doctors,” they said.