A lady officer who made the difference in treating Arunachal’s lone COVID-19 patient

On April 17, Arunachal Pradesh became free from COVID-19 as the only positive case reported in the state was discharged from hospital. For the team treating the patient at General Hospital in Tezu, it was a very tough task as the journey unfolded multiple challenges.

There was fear, anger and confusion all around but people like Dr Sajinglu Chai Pul, the District Medical Officer (DMO) in Lohit district, among others, has done a tremendous job to see off the crisis. This is a story of a lady officer – a COVID-19 warrior – who is making the difference.

Speaking to The News Mill, Pul said that it was a great relief when the last sample of the patient was tested negative. “It was a great relief. We felt like as if a huge burden was taken off from our heads,” Sajinglu told The News Mill on April 18 over phone from Tezu, the district headquarter where the COVID-19 patient was admitted.

The 31-year-old patient was discharged from the hospital after being declared ‘virus free’ on April 17. His swab samples were found to be negative for two consecutive times within a span of 24 hours.

The 61-year-old MBBS, who has been in this profession for the last 33 years, said that the last several weeks was the most challenging and crucial phase of her career.

“Everything was new for us. There was fear and a sense of anxiety. I would say, these days were the toughest. But I’m glad that we successfully overcame it,” she said.

The Nizamuddin Markaz incident was already in the news and there was a sense of panic everywhere. Then on March 31, the first positive case was detected in the state.

And all of them were into action. There were many challenges. They also had to keep in mind the public reaction as the people were in panic.

“When we first got to know about it, we were not that worried because we underwent heavy drill to face this kind of situation. But then, obviously there will be some kind of tension. We straightway got into action and did all the kind of necessary work for the patient. At the same time, we also had to do the awareness activities through various mediums including the radio so that the public don’t get panic,” Sajinglu added.

There was a fear that the local public might react at the patient being treated at the Tezu Zonal Hospital. So, they also had to keep an eye on that.

After that, it was almost a round-the-clock mission for Sajinglu and her team.

“We didn’t have much manpower but we were in groups and carried out our work. Apart from medicinal support, we also had to do a lot of counseling with the patient. We kept on speaking to him over phone, not to worry much…that he will be alright soon,” she added.

Praising her efforts, senior journalist Tongam Rina tweeted, “When Arunachal got its first #COVID-19 positive patient in Tezu, there was fear, anger and confusion. Dr Sajinglu Chai Pul, DMO, Lohit did what she had to do. Fought all odds, admitted the patient and her team took over. The person recovered and was discharged today!”

Second among the four sisters, Sajinglu is also the first to do MBBS in her Mishmi community in Arunachal Pradesh which she completed in 1980s from the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi.

“It has been a great journey. We were provided all the support from the family. Our parents were very encouraging in assisting us in what we wanted to do in our lives. They deserve for whatever we have achieved today,” she added.

About Abdul Gani

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Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist

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