GUWAHATI: Pomi Baruah, a civil servant, has been at the forefront of Assam’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.As the state nodal officer of the 104 helpline, she was instrumental in collecting data based on which contact tracing was conducted.
Baruah said initially people called up the helpline with queries on COVID-19 symptoms, general health, to inform about food shortages or complaints on people not following quarantine protocol or to know about travel passes. However, all that changed once news spread about the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat members in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.
Baruah received a called from Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. “He told me we will receive a lot of calls related to Nizamuddin. I galvanised the team,” she said.While some voluntarily reported to the health department but getting the details of others was not an easy task. “We received calls giving names and numbers of the attendees. We shared the details with DMs for field verifications and also with the National Health Mission. Most of them were scared and needed convincing to come forward,” said Baruah.
“The 104 helpline was giving COVID-related information if someone sought. It was liaising with people who were under home quarantine. When I realised the load was heavy on the staffs, I ensured we create a group of volunteers. One was formed with 150 people and they helped us working online staying at home,” said Baruah, who graduated from Miranda House in Delhi.