Other States

Coronavirus | Special care home staff self-quarantine to protect HIV-affected children

On March 12, staff members of ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’ decided to reduce their outside contact to the extreme so that they do not become carriers of COVID-19 to these vulnerable children, said its superintendent Akash Guru. Photo: Special arrangement

On March 12, staff members of ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’ decided to reduce their outside contact to the extreme so that they do not become carriers of COVID-19 to these vulnerable children, said its superintendent Akash Guru. Photo: Special arrangement  

Lowered immunity makes these children extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

To save the vulnerable HIV-positive children staying in the special care home at Odisha’s Gopalpur from COVID-19 infection, its staff members have put themselves in indefinite self quarantine along with the inmates since March 12.

This institution, named ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’, has 52 HIV-positive children in the age group of 5 to 15. Twenty-six of them are girls. Lowered immunity makes these children extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. So, they were completely cloistered at ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’ when their schools closed down from March 12 for COVID-19 threat. Seven inmates, who had gone to spend time with their relatives or parents, were asked to stay back where they were.

Strict enforcement

On March 12, staff members of ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’ decided to reduce their outside contact to the extreme so that they do not become carriers of COVID-19 to these vulnerable children, said its superintendent Akash Guru. Eight staff members including Mr. Guru have decided to put themselves in self quarantine till the threat of infection ended. Only persons allowed to enter the premises and go out are a part-time doctor and a part-time educator, who also adhere to strict measures of sanitation during every entry.

Puspita Nayak, the housemother of ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’, has left her 10-year-old son with her father in Berhampur to serve the HIV-positive children round-the-clock. Its housefather, Ujwala Tandi, got married in January, has left his newly married wife at home in Bolangir, to remain in quarantine. Cook Pramila Acharya is staying away from her home and son in Berhampur for these children. Mr. Guru had visited his home in Rayagada district for the last time during Christmas. These staff members have vowed to refrain from going out of the campus till COVID-19 threat ends.

‘Sraddha Sanjivani’ collects its groceries, vegetables and other goods of daily needs through telephonic contacts. Local police also help the staff for it. The supplies are left at the gate of the institution to avoid possibility of passing of infection to the inmates by any outsider.

To a question, Mr. Guru said, “We are so engaged throughout the day to keep the HIV-positive children busy in different activities that we forget about our own woes.”

Social distancing

Sanitation and social distancing for inmates have been enhanced in ‘Sraddha Sanjivani’. Its rooms and halls are regularly sanitised. But no one from outside is allowed to enter the premises to do it, to avoid entry of infection. The children wash their hands at least eight times a day. Maintaining prescribed social distancing, they lead a life of proper schedule that includes ample time for entertainment, games, art and craft as well as education from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 11:56:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-special-care-home-staff-self-quarantine-to-protect-hiv-affected-children/article31222721.ece

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