Meghalaya Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh had been receiving distress calls from people, who had tested positive, but were being shifted to corona care centres after waiting for long.
She did what she thought would provide some succour to such "anxious" people and came up with the idea of starting a facility herself. On Tuesday (May 25), she hired a guest house at Laitumkhrah in state capital Shillong and converted it into a 10-bed corona care centre.
“Today (Thursday), it’s already full,” she told Outlook.
There is an 11-year-old child, whose parents are being treated for the virus at NEIGHRIHMs, there is a mother-daughter duo and an 82-year-old lady among the inmates.
“They live in densely populated areas and it is important that they are segregated as soon as possible to stop the infection from spreading,” she said, adding, The health department would tell those who test positive that they would be fetched from their homes and taken to the corona care centres. “But, at times people would have to wait for hours to be shifted keeping them on tenterhooks all the while,” the three-time MLA said.
She and member of the district council from the area, Fantin J Lakadong, have decided to use their salaries for the purpose. “The facility is for free. My family has assured to help me if I run into any financial constraints,” she said.
“Some similar facilities run by the government charge for the food and many cannot afford it. Besides, once in these centres, many patients feel cut off from everything and this plays on their mind… it is a traumatic experience. All this got me thinking and I decided to come up with this centre for people of my Laitumkhrah constituency,” she said. “The girl, for instance, is so happy staying here,” she said of the 11-year-old.
For the centre there’s a doctor, who visits twice and is on call the rest of the day, and a nurse. “Several doctors have already called me up to volunteer their service,” she said.
Ampareen is already contemplating setting up another centre exclusively for women and children. “If I go on receiving calls then I will,” she said. She decided to set up the centre at Laitumkhrah because that is where she lives. “I wanted to be close to it so that I can rush in the event of any emergency,” she said.
I stopped by at the Coronavirus Care Centre at Don Bosco Square Hall in Laitumkhrah. I thanked the CCC medical team for their invaluable support, as well as the Don Bosco Brothers, rangbah shnongs, and the D.C @Cheesa. pic.twitter.com/w8fNhACTSk— Ampareen Lyngdoh (@ampareenlyngdoh) May 26, 2021
She said with cases rising all the time in the state, particularly in East Khasi Hills district under which Shillong falls, it was very important to speedily segregate the positive cases from the community, ramp up testing and cut down on the time to arrive at the results. “It sometimes takes 30-40 hours for the test results by which time those who would eventually turn positive would have gone around doing so many things,” she said.
In the meantime, the government has decided to organise a special prayer at 12 noon on May 30.
“As human beings, we will not be able to protect ourselves. We need God’s intervention, God’s blessings, without Him, we are nobody. That is why we should have a special prayer,” health minister Alexander Laloo Hek said.
He has also urged all citizens of the state to join hands with the government in praying. “We request everybody to assemble in their respective houses at that time and pray to the Almighty for his protection,” Hek was reported to have told reporters.
Ampareen said that while prayers were fine, it must also be remembered what the Bible says: “God helps those who help themselves”.