Stories of Hope during COVID-19

Rosera, Hasanpur. In Wave 7, Innovators in Health (IIH) started its work with private providers in three blocks in Samastipur district of Bihar. Dr Lakshman Kumar Panjiar of Rosera referred three-year-old Sakshi* to IIH to support her through diagnosis. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis and her treatment was initiated on 20 February 2020. Sakshi’s family stays in ward 2 of Dudhpura panchayat in Hasanpur. The nearest hub of private providers is Rosera, about 20 Kms from there.

Once satisfied with the diagnosis and treatment, Sakshi’s father Dhanesh Das* left for Delhi. Being a daily wager, he could not afford a long absence from his job. Little did he know that visiting his family will become a daunting task in the coming times. He learned from the news that the country would be locked down from the next day. This meant he could possibly lose his job and would not be able to visit his little girl who was battling a grave disease. Still hoping that trains would be functional, he kept visiting the railway station only to be met with despair.

Since the lockdown, IIH has worked towards ensuring treatment support over the phone. Every week, urban field coordinators follow up with close to 1000 people in private care (we are also reaching out to those people whose treatment started prior to our intervention, to ensure their treatment continues without any interruption). During one such follow up, our field coordinator Sangeeta talked to Sakshi’s mother. The mother informed Sangeeta that Sakshi would run out of medicines in a few days. The unavailability of a male member in the family was a hindrance, as she did not know much about the medicine shops. She requested for support.

Sangeeta informed this to the Project Manager, Pitamber Soren. The biggest challenge was reaching to the patient as she was situated 55 km from the main project office site. Pitamber collaborated with Government officials to issue a pass for the vehicle and they wholeheartedly supported him. After completing all the paperwork in 4 hours, a pass was issued. Next morning, IIH acquired the required medicines and the Manager travelled 55 km to deliver it to Sakshi. He ensured to practice all the new social distancing norms to protect from potential COVID-19 transmission. Sakshi’s mother couldn’t hold back her tears and deeply thanked Pitamber. She also informed Sakshi’s father of this. He was truly relieved and grateful.

Documented by: Dyuti Sen and Smriti Ridhi, Project Managers

*All patient names have been changed to protect identity