India fights Covid: Madrasa opens doors for coronavirus patients
The madrasa, which was a residential school for 400 students, is now a private Covid-19 care centre, treating nearby villagers.
Irfan Pathan, 26, a nurse, was looking after Covid-19 patients in Jaipur in Rajasthan last year, but recently decided to return to his village, Kheerwa when the madrasa sought trained volunteers to look after local people being treated there.
He quickly chucked his Jaipur job and returned to his home in Sikar district and is busy treating patients. The Jamia Arabia Barkatul Islam Madrasa in Kheerwa, which was a residential school for 400 students, is now a private Covid-19 care centre, treating nearby villagers.
Pathan told a newspaper that there are about a score of patients at the centre. The government allowed the madrasa to operate as a quarantine centre and donations have poured in to ensure free treatment.
Maulana Hasan Mahmood Qazmi, the head of the centre, says lack of medical oxygen supply is a major problem at the facility. “The Covid centre in our madrasa is open to everyone irrespective of background or religion and treatment is free for all,” he said. “We are getting an increasing number of phone calls from nearby villages where people who have Covid symptoms want to come here.”
Unfortunately, inadequate oxygen means not more patients can be admitted. “If the government arranges around 10-15 oxygen cylinders for us every day, we would be able to cater to more people,” he adds.
According to Kulraj Meena, a government official, Kheerwa is among 10 villages in the district from where most Covid cases have been reported. Sikar has nearly 7,000 active Covid cases and ranks fifth among districts with the highest number of such cases in Rajasthan.
“After discussions between villagers and the administration, we decided to allow the facility at the madrasa to function as a quarantine centre,” he said. “They are carrying out treatment with the medicines prescribed by the government for Covid-19. They even managed to improve a patient’s oxygen saturation from the 70s to 94 with an oxygen concentrator.”
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