COVID-19: the acid test for humanity

In these Corona-hit times, the immuno-compromised community of people living with HIV is very vulnerable. In the midst of national lockdown, it was an ordeal for aged people, disabled persons or orphans to access their daily dose of medicine. Amidst the inescapable stories of rising death tolls, incessant new cases of Covid-19, here’s how our teams in the field are engaged in serving our communities and making a difference.

Ashwani couldn’t make it to the ARTC, 65 km away, in the lockdown. He called up our fieldworker Gurmeil Singh at Hanumangarh, Rajasthan. Without a second thought, Gurmeil rode his bike and supplied two months of medication to Ashwani. Ashwani’s wife too was stuck in Churu district. Gurmeil did a quick liaison with the Care and Support Centre at Bikaner and medication was reached to her as well. The couple was so emotional and grateful that they fell short of words.

38-year-old Lakshmi, a sex worker from Kolkata, had a leg fracture just before lockdown. Unable to reach the ART centre, she called up for help. Our ORW collected medicine from MRBH ARTC and home-delivered it within a day. Lakshmi could hardly hold back her tears and even in her bed-ridden state, she offered her endless gratitude by serving water and snacks to the outreach worker.

Eight-year-old Navin stays with his 65-year-old grandmother in Hasnabad, Karimnagar. They survive on the old-age pension scheme and ART pension. Karimnagar being a red zone of COVID-19 outbreak, it was impossible for Navin to collect his ART medicine. No outsiders were allowed entry either. Doorstep delivery of the medicine would reveal the HIV status of Navin which was otherwise hushed due to fear of discrimination. Finally, three months of medicine was reached to the house of an Asha worker, who only knew the child’s HIV status.

Sam stays with his aged mother in Aizawl, ten kilometres away from CSC. Very recently, a stroke had made him paralytic. In response to the aged mother’s call, our ORW delivered the medicine. He discovered that they were in a helpless state, with barely anything to eat. With the intervention of the peer counsellor, our ORW arranged ration for them instantly.

15-year-old Bina from Tildaneura is registered in our Raipur ARTC. She is in her 9th standard but currently studying at home as schools are shut. She lost her father when she was barely 6-7 years old and her mother also left home. Since then, both Bina and her sister reside with their grandparents. The ART centre is 50 kilometres away from their village. During the lockdown, they contacted the ARTC coordinator for help. Our Project Coordinator in Raipur delivered the next two months’ medication at their doorstep, just within 24 hours.

We are surviving a chapter of history, which hopefully, should never repeat itself. The above stories brought forth humans who prove that kindness is rare but real. The list of lives these angels have touched and impacted is endless. Let the faith in humanity get over the wrath of the virus.

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