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Nurses face stigma in Covid-19 fight

Some residential societies are not allowing healthcare workers in as they fear infection
Nurses celebrate International Nurses Day in Guwahati on Tuesday.
Nurses celebrate International Nurses Day in Guwahati on Tuesday.

Rokibuz Zaman   |   Guwahati   |   Published 12.05.20, 07:47 PM

As Assam celebrated International Nurses Day on Tuesday, many nurses in the state allegedly face discrimination as, some fear, they are carriers of coronavirus and will infect people near them.

A nurse in Bongaigaon said: “When a Covid-19 case was detected at a hospital in Bongaigaon, we the nurses faced discrimination as the owners of our rented rooms kept telling us again and again at the time of entering and leaving the room not to touch anything and not to roam around.”

Residential societies are not allowing healthcare workers to stay as they are scared of infection.

The B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) authorities on Monday said hospital staff residing in various localities of the city and adjoining areas were facing harassment by people, landlords and housing societies.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said: “Constant and dedicated efforts of the nurses in tackling Covid-19 at the frontline have made nurses the backbone in our fight against coronavirus.”

There is hardly any get-together to celebrate International Nurses Day in Assam this year, but the nurses are proud that they take on coronavirus not caring a hoot about the pandemic.

Smarita Das, a nursing superintendent of Nemcare Hospital, said: “No regrets for not having a celebration this year. The main celebration is serving society during crisis situations. The ability to make a difference in a patient’s life when they are the most vulnerable is very rewarding. Nurses are known for compassionate and caring nature.”

However, there was a surprise cake-cutting event for the frontline nurses of MMCH, Guwahati, organised by doctors of the hospital.

Principal-cum-director (nursing), GNRC Hospitals, Unmona Borgohain Saikia, said: “Nurses are the frontline warriors. They are the ones doing the screenings, taking care of the critically ill, implementing triage protocols, communicating to families and witnessing deaths. So they fear that they may be infected at any point of time. That is a mental trauma,” she said.

There are nearly 6,500 GNM (general nurses midwifery) nurses and around 435 BSc nurses in the state.

The Greater Kakopathar Journalists’ Association on Tuesday felicitated frontline corona warriors at Kakopathar primary healthcare centre on International Nurses Day in the presence of the association’s vice-president Vijay Dutta and secretary Dipen Lahkar in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam.

The programme to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale was followed by distribution of masks among officials and customers of Central Bank of India here.

“In this way, we paid tributes to Florence Nightingale and felicitated our brave nurses,” Lahkar said.

The day is celebrated as International Nurses Day on May 12 across the world.

Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar Ojha in Doomdooma

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