By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Mysore/Mysuru: From the very first moment Coronavirus struck, medical students volunteered to support healthcare professionals’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The second wave saw more and more volunteer help in Mysuru as the pandemic reached its peak and the city too needed volunteer help and it came from all quarters – medicos, pharma and nursing students, lab technicians, professionals, technocrats and even college students.
Although traditional volunteering is decreasing at all levels, in the times of the current health crisis, young peoples’ involvement in volunteering is just driven by the passion to serve community, fellow healthcare professionals and their patients. Overall, volunteering is truly a moral enterprise. Two students from medical and pharmacy disciplines are working at the Triage Centre of Seth Mohandas Tulsidas Hospital in Mysuru since over a month as counsellors for people who come there seeking medical advice.
Dr. K. Amulya, a third year MBBS student of BGS Global Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), Bengaluru, has her roots in Mysuru. She is the daughter of Kapanigowda, Executive Engineer, Public Works Department (PWD) and Savitha, residents of Siddarthanagar.
She had come here to stay with parents due to lockdown. At that time, the city was facing acute shortage of doctors, medical staff and volunteers for ‘COVID Mitra’ centres. When Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) called for volunteers to work at the medical and non-medical divisions at the Triage Centre of Tulsidas Hospital, she contacted the Corporation officials and got selected.
Initially, she was scared to work among COVID-positive patients that too after seeing news about the pandemic in certain television channels where minor incidents or illnesses were hyped up. But she came to know real situation at ground zero after working in COVID Mitra.
“Of course, COVID is a serious disease and people must take care of themselves. But that much of hype was not required, I feel,” she said.
“Now I have shed all fears and have been checking the saturation level of people coming to the centre. Following so much of negativity reporting in TV media, my mother had opposed earlier but later agreed since I have to start working as a doctor from next year. People who come here are treated well. I feel happy when patients shower their blessings on us after getting treated,” Dr. Amulya told SOM.
Another volunteer R.S. Srikalpa, daughter of R.S. Satyanarayana, an employee of MCC and D.S. Subbalakshmi, is a third year student of Pharmacy at Sarada Vilas Pharmacy College. She is also working as a volunteer in medical division of COVID Mitra.
“As the crisis of the second wave got bigger and bigger, with thousands of cases everyday, mounting deaths amidst a crumbling healthcare infrastructure, I applied for the post of volunteer called by MCC to work in COVID Mitra. My parents supported me. Initially, I was scared but I overcame it after sometime. Now, I examine patients and counsel them.”
For critical patients, oxygen is provided through oxygen concentrators and we must instil confidence among their relatives. We pharmacy students learn dispensing medicines at medical shops. Similarly, at COVID Mitra, we dispense medicines after checking the symptoms of patients,” she said.