International Nurses Day 2021: 52-year-old COVID Warrior Maria Feels Blessed Being On The Frontlines

International Nurses Day 2021: 52-year-old COVID Warrior Maria Feels Blessed Being On The Frontlines

International Nurses Day 2021: Meet 52-year-old Maria Rodrigues, an Infection Control Nurse at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, says she has not seen an outbreak as severe as COVID-19 in 28 year career
Maharashtra, Saluting The Covid Heroes
- in Maharashtra, Saluting The Covid Heroes
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International Nurses Day 2021: 52-year-old COVID Warrior Maria Feels Blessed Being On The FrontlinesInternational Nurses Day 2021: Maria Rodrigues, an Infection Control Nurse, trains medical professionals on infection prevention protocols
Highlights
  • As Infection Control Nurse, Ms Rodrigues’ work to tackle COVID began in Jan
  • Family’s support and spirituality helps me work on frontlines: Ms Rodrigues
  • Ms Rodrigues urges people to follow COVID precautions & eat a healthy diet

New Delhi: “The COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020 but our fight against the novel coronavirus began in January itself, right after the outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan. As an infection control nurse, I and my team had to gear up for training sessions for all the employees of Jaslok. We had to learn the COVID protocols and keep ourselves updated with the latest guidelines so that we can educate our colleagues about the same”, said Maria Rodrigues. 52-year-old Ms Rodrigues is an Infection Control Nurse at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai and has been in this profession for 28 years but this is the first time she has seen an outbreak of such intensity. On the occasion of International Nurses Day 2021, Ms Rodrigues spoke to NDTV at length about her role in the COVID-19 pandemic and what is it to be at the frontline.

Also Read: International Nurses Day 2021 Seeks To Set A Roadmap For Future Of Nursing

Though the preparations to deal with SARS-CoV-2 began in January 2020, as per Ms Rodrigues, the real challenge came up when Jaslok Hospital opened up the entire floor to COVID-19 patients and the hospital started reporting an increase in the inflow of patients.

International Nurses Day 2021: 52-year-old COVID Warrior Maria Feels Blessed Being On The Frontlines
Maria Rodrigues, Infection Control Nurse

Our job involves educating medical and public health professionals on infection prevention protocols to facilitate emergency preparedness. But our job doesn’t end there. We had to work round the clock to ensure COVID protocols are followed at all levels. If there is any discrepancy, we report it and take measures to correct it. We also check on patients and do audits, she said.

As the pandemic progressed, Ms Rodrigues’ role evolved and she and her team were given more duties like assisting in the process of RT-PCR testing including sample collection and vaccinating healthcare workers and other beneficiaries. Throughout, one of the biggest challenges Ms Rodrigues faced was the burden of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially N-95 mask.

In this humid weather, we literally get drenched in sweat after wearing PPE. Also, PPE puts you down a bit; working without any PPE was different and faster. But then you have no other choice. You need to protect yourself, your family and whoever you come in contact with. The silver lining is that we, infection control nurses, don’t work in COVID wards all day. We take rounds and come back within three to four hours, said Ms Rodrigues.

Also Read: COVID Warrior: Gujarat Doctor Highlights The After-effects Of Wearing PPE Through His Sweat-drenched Photo

She also informed that healthcare workers have to wear different levels of PPE in different zones. Like in non-COVID zones, level 2 PPE needs to be worn. This includes gown, head cover, N-95 mask, and goggles. Whereas, in COVID zones, level 3 PPE is used which includes gloves, laboratory coats, gowns, goggles, glasses with side shields, shoe covers, face shields and masks.

In level 3, there is a sequence to be followed while wearing and taking off PPE. In medical language, it is called donning and doffing off PPE. It’s crucial to take off the PPE in an appropriate manner because the majority of infections happen during doffing off PPE, said Ms Rodrigues.

Family And Spirituality: The Two Pillars Of Sister Maria Rodrigues

Ms Rodrigues lives with her husband, 90-year-old mother-in-law, 25-year-old son and a brother-in-law and together they are fighting the pandemic, said the COVID warrior. When Ms Rodrigues had to lay off the house help due to COVID restrictions, everyone in the family stepped up and shared the load of the household work. The family was never scared of Ms Rodrigues going to work during COVID-19 or coming back home after being on COVID duty. In fact, they never stopped her from performing her job.

Also Read: International Nurses Day 2021: 10 Lesser Known Facts About Nurses And Why They Are A Critical Part Of The Pool Of Healthcare Infrastructure

When neighbours were against me going to work because of the high risk of infection, it was my mother-in-law, a nurse herself, who stood by my side and questioned those neighbours and asked, ‘If not healthcare workers then who?’ When I come back home, my husband keeps the shower room and food ready for me. My family has been my biggest support system throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, we are very well taken care of by our hospital; we get proper off days, high-quality PPE and masks and good food, said Ms Rodrigues.

The COVID warrior says that it’s her god and spirituality that motivate her to continue working and not fear COVID-19. She starts and ends her day by worshipping and reading scriptures. What adds to this are the blessings she receives from patients and their families.

We really are blessed to be in this profession, she said.

Follow COVID Precautions And Fight The Second Wave: COVID Warrior

I have seen the SARS outbreak, swine flu, and bird flu but even then we could accommodate patients on one floor. People need to understand the severity of the COVID-19. In the second wave of the pandemic, mortality and severity is same but we are seeing more people requiring oxygen support, said Ms Rodrigues.

Also Read: Into The Life Of Corona Warriors, Fighting The COVID-19 Pandemic Since The Start

To overcome the second wave of coronavirus, Ms Rodrigues urged everyone to follow all COVID precautions that are handwashing, wearing a double face mask, practising social distancing. Along with this, she suggested taking more liquids and a healthy diet.

Housekeeping staff and nurses ask ‘when will this end’ but we too don’t have an answer to this question. I ask them to pray and keep everyone in their prayers. I would request everyone to avoid going out until it’s really needed. Healthcare workers are already struggling and they are trying to help you out. There is also a limit to everything so please stay indoors and safe. Also, don’t be scared, be cautious. Fear is the worst enemy of a human being, said Ms Rodrigues.

Also Read: Young Doctors Becoming COVID-19 Patients’ Best Buddies In Hospitals Through Song, Dance, Motivation

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,89,21,889Cases
6,44,02,340Active
13,02,83,678Recovered
42,35,871Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,89,21,889 and 42,35,871 have died; 6,44,02,340 are active cases and 13,02,83,678 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 3:55 am.

India

3,17,26,507 30,549Cases
4,04,9588,760Active
3,08,96,354 38,887Recovered
4,25,195 422Deaths
In India, there are 3,17,26,507 confirmed cases including 4,25,195 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,04,958 and 3,08,96,354 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

63,15,063 4,869

78,700 3,650

61,03,325 8,429

1,33,038 90

Kerala

34,25,473 13,984

1,65,834 2,057

32,42,684 15,923

16,955 118

Karnataka

29,08,284 1,285

24,045 123

28,47,627 1,383

36,612 25

Tamil Nadu

25,63,544 1,957

20,385 139

25,09,029 2,068

34,130 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,70,008 1,546

20,582 437

19,36,016 1,968

13,410 15

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,500 24

646 18

16,85,091 42

22,763

West Bengal

15,29,295 575

10,803 171

15,00,331 734

18,161 12

Delhi

14,36,401 51

538 44

14,10,809 95

25,054

Chhattisgarh

10,02,458 236

1,918 1

9,87,012 234

13,528 3

Odisha

9,79,737 1,032

13,318 820

9,60,386 1,785

6,033 67

Rajasthan

9,53,704 16

241 9

9,44,509 25

8,954

Gujarat

8,24,922 22

251 3

8,14,595 25

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,862 17

132 7

7,81,217 10

10,513

Haryana

7,69,956 14

703 12

7,59,614 25

9,639 1

Bihar

7,24,917 37

401 34

7,14,872 71

9,644

Telangana

6,45,997 591

8,819 54

6,33,371 643

3,807 2

Punjab

5,99,162 32

473 31

5,82,395 63

16,294

Assam

5,68,257 1,275

12,429 213

5,50,534 1,469

5,294 19

Jharkhand

3,47,223 23

239 15

3,41,855 38

5,129

Uttarakhand

3,42,198 37

574 35

3,34,261 71

7,363 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,725 118

1,254 43

3,16,090 73

4,381 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,06,369 208

1,304 75

2,01,543 132

3,522 1

Goa

1,71,295 90

1,027 16

1,67,118 72

3,150 2

Puducherry

1,21,059 54

944 38

1,18,320 92

1,795

Manipur

99,872 541

9,814 591

88,480 1,120

1,578 12

Tripura

79,026 304

3,104 12

75,167 292

755

Meghalaya

65,939 350

5,843 200

58,987 537

1,109 13

Chandigarh

61,960 6

33 3

61,116 3

811

Arunachal Pradesh

48,565 305

3,508 167

44,823 469

234 3

Mizoram

40,111 748

12,316 127

27,642 618

153 3

Nagaland

28,004 59

1,300 44

26,130 99

574 4

Sikkim

26,880 126

3,323 131

23,211 256

346 1

Ladakh

20,345 5

57 0

20,081 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,650

15 9

10,631 9

4

Lakshadweep

10,207 12

79 4

10,078 8

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,539

6 1

7,404 1

129

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