A mother-son team turn local superheroes in Covid times in a remote Kerala village
Sathi Babu (right) with her son Anil Babu
On May 9, when 84-year-old Kamalakshmi, a resident of Kerala’s Meloor Village, tested positive and needed to reach the hospital, ambulances were unable to get to her home located 400 metres away from the road. The octogenarian had severe symptoms and needed immediate medical attention. Her Covid positive status deterred neighbours from helping her cover the distance from her home to the ambulance. As soon as word of Kamalakashmi’s situation reached Sathi Babu, the Palappally ward representative in the Meloor village panchayat, she visited the ailing woman along with her 27-year-old son Anil Babu. Soon after, Anil, clad in a PPE kit, was carrying Kamalakshmi to the ambulance. He accompanied her to the taluk hospital located eight kilometres away and post-treatment carried her back to her house.
This is one of the many times the mother-and-son team of Meloor, a village in Kerala’s Thrissur district, have come to the aid of a Covid patient in need. On April 28, the entire Meloor panchayat area was declared a containment zone after over 200 people tested positive. Anil, posted with an army unit in New Delhi and back in Meloor during holidays, has been assisting his mother in her efforts to provide care and support to those in the area who have tested positive for the virus but are unable to access professional help. The village, home to 27,675 persons and 7,000 households, is located on a hilly terrain, making it difficult for ambulances to negotiate. The taluk hospital only admits critical cases.
The Babus have helped seven other residents get medical attention. Among them is Suryan, who returned to Meloor from Mumbai with his wife during the lockdown. “Sathi chechi (elder sister) is a one-stop solution for our worries. When my wife fell ill after our return, she arranged for a home nurse for her.”
Apart from this, Sathi has also set up a Covid youth brigade in her locality made up of around 65 young men and women who are working round the clock to provide assistance to those infected. “The current situation needs voluntary action. If we wait for the government to act, we may lose our dear ones,” says M.S. Biju, CPI(M) member from Meloor.
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