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Health workers prefer Covid duty over family obligations

JAMMU, JUNE 16: Health workers are fighting a two-flanked battle against Covid. While one of them is fought daily at the medical front, in hospitals and other health facilities, the other one is fought at domestic level.

To render professional services for extended periods of time, their families have to make a number of sacrifices and forego numerous comforts. Senior Staff Nurse at GMC Jammu, Shabnam Kousar has also been in a dilemma whether to keep distance with her children, or stay close and risk them every day.

The Senior Staff Nurse tells, ‘My kids have been with me hardly for a couple of months within the past one and a half year. They are living with their grandparents in Doda where they are safe and well fed, while I attend to my duties at GMC here’. She says that she can’t risk getting them infected while she returns from the hospital every day.

Sister Shabnam has three kids, two of them too young to even understand the situation. She tells, ‘They keep asking when would this all end they get to return back to me’. She also thanks her in-laws for taking care of the children and her husband for managing the house while she treats patients at the Critical Care Unit for Covid at GMC Jammu.

She has been serving Covid patients since the onset of Covid pandemic last year and at present managing the Critical Care Unit. ‘I work on a 10-day roster and take 1-week quarantine off. On the job or off it, I maintain distance from my family to ensure their safety’, says Shabnam.

 ‘At the beginning of the pandemic, we were taken aback just as the rest of the public. Acquaintances and relatives started keeping distance from us out of fear’, recalled Sister Shabnam. ‘On one hand, it was the physical exertion of staying in PPE kits all day long, and on the other it was the mental stress of managing personal and professional lives. It is not easy to manage the two together’, she continued.

Although it is believed that the world post Covid would never be the same as before, still Shabnam hopes that things get back to normal soon and she gets to read her favourite books once again. Although the workload has reduced to some extent, it will be long before I resume with my hobby, she hopes.


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