MANGALURU: Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak last year, Sujatha Shetty, 47, has thrown herself into work, discharging her Covid duties for 15 hours a day, without a break. This ASHA worker from Mangaluru is also an ASHA facilitator for 39 ASHA workers in Katipalla and Attur-Kemral PHCs in Dakshina Kannada district.
She visits every house in her village every day to monitor the health of the villagers, besides holding vaccination drives and arranging transport facilities. Due to such continuous efforts, Delanthabettu village under Katipalla PHC in Surinje gram panchayat has reported only three cases since March last year.
“When I came to know that one of the residents had symptoms of fever, I rushed to the house and asked them to undergo RTPCR tests. The village has 276 families and a population of 1,475,” she says, adding that the virus is contained due to the people’s cooperation.
Sujatha, who has studied up to PU, organised successful vaccination drives in March for people aged above 60. When people were refusing to take the vaccine, she spoke to Gram Panchayat officials and arranged for a bus for those getting jabbed. Now, she leaves home at 5am to reach the vaccination centre and issue tokens to people waiting from 4am. “We don’t see what time it is, and sometimes, we don’t even have lunch till 4pm,” she says.
“She took the initiative of vaccinating all the villagers because many people were afraid, assuming they will have side-effects. For the last 12 years, she has visited all houses and helped people during health emergencies,” said a gram panchayat member. She organises over 25 health awareness programmes every year.
She says it is her “bhagya” to serve people. “I have two daughters and my husband, who works as a school attendant, is at home. I am not able to look after my family and don’t know whether they have their meals on time. We are at high risk but we are giving our best to the people,” she says. She has not attended a single family function or taken leave.