Fighting COVID-19 fear and beating the blues, Gandham style

A sense of fear struck the medical fraternity and the public when a couple of doctors at the government hospital here contracted Covid-19.

Published: 17th April 2020 08:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2020 12:33 PM   |  A+A-

Anantapur Collector Gandham Chandrudu (inset) interacts with a patient.

Anantapur Collector Gandham Chandrudu (inset) interacts with a patient. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

ANANTAPUR: A sense of fear struck the medical fraternity and the public when a couple of doctors at the government hospital here contracted COVID-19. But Anantapur Collector Gandham Chandrudu didn’t just fight his own fear. He even visited these doctors in their isolation ward to boost healthcare workers’ confidence.

“Talking to the patients (after taking precautions) would reassure them that they are in safe hands. If higher officials visit, the infectees’ confidence will rise and they will recover fast,” he says, adding that treating patients as untouchables would bring down their confidence and might delay their recovery. Chandrudu’s day starts with a teleconference with officials from the state headquarters, and he then proceeds to instruct district-level officials.

After this, he supervises their work. He’s occupied from early in the morning to late at night, but still, a couple of issues remain unattended each day, he confesses, adding that the next day he focuses on finishing the pending tasks. Amid his busy schedule, the Collector tells TNIE, “We have to ensure there are no fresh Covid-19 cases. If there are any, we need to identify their contacts, set up quarantine centres, and ensure amenities are provided to people lodged there. This apart, we have to coordinate with hospitals and doctors.”

As many as 21 Covid-19 cases and two deaths have been recorded in the district so far, and the infectees’ contacts are being traced and quarantined. “We will identify ‘day zero’ (when a person shows symptoms) and track the patients’ travel and contact history by recording their minute-to-minute daily routine,” 

Suspected patients to get test results via SMS

“For instance, in the Hindupur infectee case, we are preparing a proforma of when the affectee had breakfast, the family members he was in contact with, and are ascertaining if and how he went out of the house, and the people he interacted with.

This proforma will have even the time at which he met a person,” he explained. Further, the contacts will be categorised as high risk, medium risk and low risk and placed in quarantine. Asked whether there is any negligence that led to doctors contracting the virus, Chandrudu replies in the negative.

“The doctors attended to the patient as he had a history of asthma. Only after his death was it confirmed that he had Covid-19,” he explained. The district administration on Thursday developed a system by which a person who went for a swab test, can get the results by SMS. “We started this from today (Thursday) and sent messages to 144 people. Of them, two were tested positive.”

Chandrudu sets example

Chandrudu, who joined as the Collector of Anantapur, has a mark in the field of administration. Sending a message that officials are to serve the people and not flaunt their authority, he issued orders that the rural masses need not remove their slippers when entering an office.

Similarly, he asked people not to present bouquets or garlands when they visit him. Instead, he told them to bring notebooks which can be distributed to students in welfare hostels. The 2010- batch IAS officer initially served as Rampachodvaram ITDA PO, Rampachodavarm sub-collector and Joint Collector of Krishna district. Prior to his posting as Collector, he served as Commissioner, Tribal Welfare


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