By P.T. Bopanna
People of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka should be grateful to the previous DC Annies Joy (in picture) for putting in place the infrastructure for treating Covid-19 patients. Having been one of the first qualified nurses to be selected for the IAS in 2012, Annies used her professional knowledge to build the infrastructure when the first wave of the coronavirus hit India.
The Modi government which has messed up its fight against Covid by prioritising electioneering and Kumb Mela, should immediately recall Annies who has gone on long leave to join her IFS husband in the United States.
It is time experts are roped in to handle the unprecedented situation which has brought untold miseries to crores of Indians.
During her tenure last year, Annies set up an oxygen plant with 13,000 litres capacity at the designated hospital at Madikeri, the district headquarters of Kodagu. Consequently, Kodagu has not faced shortage of oxygen so far, though the corona virus is playing havoc in the hill district, famous for its homestays.
It is learnt that there is a dearth of D-type oxygen cylinders at present in Kodagu. The government should immediately look into this issue.
It may be recalled that after the first case was reported on March 19 last year, there were zero cases for over a month in the district, because of the preventive measures taken by Annies and her team. The containment efforts were lauded by the Union health ministry.
She also started a portal under #KodaguFightsCorona for delivering essential goods to the people’s doorsteps, to prevent them from crowding shops during the lockdown. She also sealed the borders with Kerala, her home state to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Annies was quoted as saying: “Nobody has a clue on how and when the Covid-19 will come to an end. We are running in a marathon where one cannot rest after covering two kilometres and should continue the race.”
She also set up a laboratory for conducting COVID-19 testing at the Kodagu Institute of Medical Sciences in Madikeri. Earlier, the throat and nasal swabs from suspected cases were tested at the VRDL in Mysuru Medical College.
Annies also identified land in each of the taluks for the funeral of the Covid victims to show dignity in death as per the prescribed protocols.
She is being missed by the residents of Kodagu at a time when the Covid cases are shooting up in the district.