After receiving an SOS call, a medical team from Puthur Domiciliary Care Centre (DCC) reached a tribal village, which is 20 km from Attapadi in Palakkad and comprises around 100 people of Irula, Mudugar and Kurumba tribes. Last week, three members from one family in the settlement had developed high fever and were in need of immediate medical attention.

The journey to the Murugula village wasn’t, however, easy. The team realised they can use their vehicles only up to the bank of the Bhavani Puzha river and that they had to cross the river on foot thereafter.

Murugula is one of the tribal settlements in Attapadi forest division with over 40 people from seven families inhabiting the area.

A team comprising Dr Sukanya, health inspector Sunil Vasu, junior health inspector Saiju and driver Sajesh reached the tribal area on Saturday morning. They conducted antigen tests on 30 people of which seven turned out to be Covid positive. The infected individuals were shifted to the Puthur Domiciliary Care Centre.

“This is not a new thing for us as we usually go there for monthly medical camps. But this time around when we reached the river Bank, the water level was quite high. We didn’t have a choice but to cross the river by foot. It was a little risky and some of us fell down while crossing. Once we crossed it was a trek into the forest for about 2 km,” Dr Sukanya said.

In the middle of the river, the water was chest deep. “It was too risky,” shuddered the doctor. The 40-odd members of seven families in the marooned hamlet were in the grip of fear after they developed COVID-19 symptoms.

Seven of them tested positive, and Dr. Sukanya and team had yet another tough time convincing them of the necessity of isolation and treatment.

“It took a long time to convince them about the importance of preventing the spread of the disease. We shifted all the affected members to a domiciliary care centre (DCC) at Pudur, and we are monitoring them now,” said Dr. Sukanya.

Sukanya has been in the government service for about 8 years now. Last year she got permanent placement after clearing the Public Service Commission exam. The doctor also received a call from Kerala Health Minister Veena George.

“It was a pleasant surprise that the minister called. I never expected it. The minister congratulated us and it was indeed a great motivation for our work,” she added.

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