Chennai

School and alumni team up against Coronavirus

Photo: Ragu R  

Chennai A fortnight ago, when 65-year-old S Saraswathi from Ayanavaram suffered breathlessness due to COVID-19 infection, her son made desperate calls to his friends and relatives seeking their help in getting a hospital bed for her. Finally, the son admitted her to the Don Bosco-GCC COVID Care Centre in Egmore.

Two weeks later, on June 24, Saraswathi left the centre as the last Covid-19 patient to be discharged from the 104-bed centre.

Saraswathi is one among the 172 Covid-19 patients who got treated and discharged from the Centre since May 20 when the facility was inaugurated by Greater Chennai Corporation. Not just GCC’s health staff, a team of young doctors and medical consultants who are the school’s alumni, worked closely with school authorities and the Corporation in running the Centre for more than a month.

“Our alma mater (Don Bosco) asked the alumni who are doctors, to help them convert a portion of the school into COVID Care Centre. So, we volunteered to do this work,” says 25-year-old Dr. E. Julius Loui Leveli from the 2012-batch of the school who completed his medicine in the Philippines before settling down in Chennai.

Part of the Don Bosco Past Pupils Association, Julius was among the 14 duty doctors at the COVID Care Centre.

Out of the 14, nine are alumni of the school.

Besides, the centre also had eight medical consultants in which two consultants are alumni and another two consultants their wives. Similarly, around the 10 volunteers who helped out at the centre are also former students.

“The alumni were provided free accommodation and a token fee to our former students who are doctors. We are happy to have helped save many lives during those challenging times,” says Sujith Tharakan, president, Don Bosco Past Pupils Association. Tharakan is also an old commerce student of the school’s 1990 batch.

There are 13 classrooms on the school’s ground floor, and each of these classrooms was turned into an eight-bed unit.

Apart from old students, GCC’s doctors and health staff also worked round the clock in three shifts (8 am — 2pm; 2pm — 8pm; 8pm — 8am) at the centre.

At the height of the second wave, on an average, every day around 10 patients would get admitted to the centre. While GCC took care of the medical supplies, accommodation for staff and maintenance of the centre done by the school and the alumni. “Postponement of NEET PG examinations for which our old students, who are doctors, were preparing enabled them to spare their time for the initiative,” says Dr. Subash from 1988-batch who came up with this idea.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:49:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/school-and-alumni-team-up-against-coronavirus/article34983293.ece

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