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Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers across the country have been braving the fear of infection and working for longer hours to strengthen the fight against the pandemic. Despite being subjected to violence, these frontline warriors have remained committed to their work.
One such healthcare worker is Manti Kumari from Jharkhand, who has shown remarkable resilience and gone beyond the call of duty to get people vaccinated.
She is a contractual auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) and is posted at the Chetma health's sub-center. Kumari conducts the immunisation program for young children in Latehar's Mahuadanr Block, The New Indian Express reported.
Covering eight villages, she travels up to 35 kilometers through dense forests and crosses the river Burha, while carrying her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter on her back and a vaccine box on her shoulder.
Kumari reaches out to children six days a week in these remotest villages, including Tisiya, Goira, and Sugabandh areas with the maximum number of Maoists, as the availability of medical treatment is still a challenge in these areas. The woman has been traveling in the same manner for one year.
Kumari's story also reveals how vaccination drives are still not actively carried out in such areas. It is because of the healthcare workers who often trek, travel through forests for hours on foot to reach these regions that the residents have been able to access critical medical services.
Speaking to the media, Manti said that it was not a new way of traveling for her, as she has been doing it for over a year, and had also resumed work after three months of maternity leave.
"Most of the villages I am supposed to cover are at faraway places with rivers on its way, and there is no choice but to cross the river. Though these rivers are not very deep, there always are chances of getting carried away along with the stream during the rainy season," the media quoted her as saying.
When the water level increases, she skips the particular village till the level comes under the danger mark.
Her image of carrying the baby while crossing the river was shared on social media. After it came to the Latehar administration's attention, district deputy commissioner, Abu Imran, called the image a 'photo op'.
"It was a photo-op which should be avoided by health workers as it doesn't serve any purpose. We do not approve of this kind of adventurism. It is an instance of sheer misadventure, and this woman health worker should have avoided it," Imran told The Times of India.
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