For Papori Charukia Hazarika, a health worker in Guwahati, to leave her five-month old baby at home and join the work was probably one of the toughest decision she has ever made. It was her call of duty as the positive cases of COVID-19 almost increased in a rocketing speed in Assam.
“Obviously, I was nervous and felt so bad for my baby. Because, the first thing that came to my mind was if somehow I get positive, it will infect my baby first. I even cried but then it was my duty as a health worker to give preference to the patients. I made up my mind that I will do it,” the 29-year-old ECG technician at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) in Guwahati told The News Mill.
The MMCH is one of the COVID-19 specific hospitals in the state. Papori was in maternal leave since November last year and joined her work on May 27 when the positive cases were rising fast.
“My husband motivated me to join the work and the family support has been great. He reminded me that patients are important and for them, we, the health workers are the only hope when they are in hospital,” added Papori who has been working with the hospital since 2013 under hospital management society as a contractual employee.
Her husband, Dhiraj Hazarika, is a journalist working with the Guwahati-based news channel DY365.
After joining her work, she also attended the people at the quarantine centres.
“When I was summoned for the first time at the quarantine ward, I prayed to God and wore my PPE kit. I also had to attend work inside ICU. After that, it has been a normal affair. And now the fear is less. Watching our fellow health workers do their duty also motivates me,” Papori said.
So, how did she prepare to leave aside her baby? “First, I was mentally determined. Then I arranged a babysitter, an old lady at least four days ahead of my joining date. To make her (baby) get used to it, I didn’t stay with her for several hours. Initially, she cried a lot but gradually it was manageable,” Papori reckoned.
After joining at her work, she has been working 8 am to 2 pm, five days a week and sixth day she works in the evening shift.
“…amid trouble, I feel a sense of pride. I feel good to think that I have a role to play in the bigger fight against COVID-19. But it is painful to hear the news like when health workers are treated badly in several places by patients and fellow human beings. This is unfortunate and should not happen,” Papori added.
Her husband Dhiraj said that as both of them are in essential services, they have to adjust their duty hours as per the convenience to their office needs.
“Initially, it was difficult. But now we have got used to it. I try to go for work in the evening shift when she arrives from her work and try to give our baby maximum time. Apart from that, I tested my swab to be sure about my status,” Dhiraj, who has also been reporting on COVID-19, said.
As on June 7 afternoon, Assam has 2565 positive cases. Till date in the state 1,46,605 samples were tested, which is one of the highest across the country.
In Assam, several health workers, including doctors on duty, were tested positive for COVID-19. However, they have recovered and resumed their work.