Going the extra mile for patients

Going the extra mile for patients
Going the extra mile for patients

Staff of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Nagaland who have been providing medical services to the people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | April 20

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers are going the extra mile to ensure that people are getting other emergency healthcare services. 

Single mother and staff nurse of Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Nagaland Branch— S Kaini Rhetso is one of them, who volunteered to continue providing these services to mothers and children during this period of lockdown while placing her own 5-year-old daughter under the care of her parents, who live in another place.

“It would have been difficult to work in this situation if my daughter was with me since I don’t have a babysitter but thankfully my parents are there to take care of her,” she states.  “When the lockdown began, we started receiving calls from patients asking for medicines and whether they could continue availing the services,” she adds.

“There are many who are in need of the services we have been providing at the FPAI’s Reproductive Health & Family Planning Clinic (RHFPC) at Daklane and it is my responsibility as a nurse to fulfill my duties,” she affirms. 

Over the last few weeks, she says, “we have had clients not only from Kohima but also from several neighbouring villages.” New clients are coming to the clinic as access is limited these days. 

“Being able to provide these seemingly small but essential services during this critical situation is a blessing,” she puts across. Rhetso has been working with FPAI Nagaland Branch since 2012. The nurse is accompanied by an attendant at the clinic and a lab technician as and when required while Ville Rhetso is available for tele counseling during this period.  

“As a health delivery point, we are continuing the service,” Vincent Belho, Branch Manager of FPAI, Nagaland told The Morung Express. “We were also worried and afraid, wondering how to go about”, he expresses. Belho informs that they have  two nurses; one nurse is elderly and the young nurse is a single mother. The latter volunteered to carry on.

“Our clients basically come for family planning services, but when it comes to contraceptives, women have to follow certain timelines; if not followed, it can be a problem”, Vincent Belho highlights. 

“Although these are small services, it becomes very important,” he says, adding that another important service is immunization. We are giving regular immunization at a rescheduled timing from 10:00 am- 1:00 pm, he informed.

“What I have observed through the everyday reports that we send to our Headquarter is that there have been walk-ins of new clients for immunization and family planning services because they couldn’t get services from government hospitals and other private hospitals”, he further notes. Belho points out that this may be due to the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK), the biggest service provider, being converted into a COVID-19 Hospital.

“These services (Antenatal care (ANC), postnatal care (PNC), contraception and immunization) are not considered as priority services, but we have been providing and people are availing,” he says.

In the meantime, Belho informs that he has ordered PPEs (Personal protective equipment) for his frontline workers. “We’ve not asked the State Health Department because they are already so much constrained.  But I am also apprehensive because one unit of PPE is Rs.2000 and for a voluntary agency to provide this kind to its staff is not going to be easy,” he adds.