Naga Doctor at COVID-19 frontlines in the US

Naga Doctor at COVID-19 frontlines in the US
Naga Doctor at COVID-19 frontlines in the US

Dr Jonathan Vilasier Iralu

 

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | May 10


As the world continues to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, among the frontliners is Dr Jonathan Vilasier Iralu from Khonoma Village, who is placed in the world’s most affected country, having reported over 1.2 million cases of coronavirus.

He currently serves as Chief Clinical Consultant for Infectious Diseases for the Indian Health Service and has been stationed at Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup, New Mexico since 1994.


In an exclusive interview with The Morung Express, Dr Jonathan Vilasier Iralu said, “COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic that has heavily impacted the United States in general, including American Indian people more specifically.” Briefly taking us through the situation there, he related that, “we initially saw spread in the community at church revivals or services, alcohol treatment centers and funerals.” “We now are concerned most about spread in the community in large multigenerational families living in the same home”, he highlighted.


However, expressing that the Navajo Nation has responded courageously to this challenge by working to “flatten the curve”, he put across that “this has included a stay at home order, curfews and contact investigations to make sure close contacts of a case of COVID-19 are tested and quarantined.”


Reasserting the importance of staying home, he conveyed a message to the people of Nagaland that “COVID-19 is a serious illness that can be prevented by staying at home, avoiding large gatherings of more than 5-10 people, and practicing careful, frequent hand washing.”


He further emphasized that special attention should be given to protecting the elders from contacting a case of COVID-19 by asking the elders to stay home and shelter in place. 


Mention may be made here that Dr Jonathan Vilasier Iralu is the grandson of Dr Sevilie Iralu and son of Dr Vichazelhu Iralu from Khonoma village.  He attended Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and his specialty is Infectious Diseases.


Apart from serving as Chief Clinical Consultant for Infectious Diseases for the Indian Health Service, he also serves as Clinical Professor at University of New Mexico School of Medicine by teaching medical students at Gallup Indian Medical Center and fellow health care providers through telemedicine meetings.  His specialty focus areas are primarily on HIV, tuberculosis and STD care delivery in the past.