Manipur frontline health worker takes a break

Imphal: Sangmuan alias Bultu, a 24-year-old COVID-19 frontline health worker from Churachandpur district in Manipur, is winning hearts on the internet after his picture in a PPE suit resting under a tree went viral on social media.

Sangmuan, who hails from Lamka village, has been engaged as an ambulance driver on a contractual basis for the last six months at District Hospital, Churachandpur. 

His work involves picking up COVID-19 positive people from their homes and taking them to the hospital or the COVID-19 care centre.

Talking about the picture, Sangmuan told EastMojo that he was taking a quick nap after five consecutive trips on Friday. An unknown person clicked the picture right in front of the COVID-19 ward in Churachandpur district at around 2:30 pm. He had started the day at 8 am.

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The photo was shared by Golan Naulak on Twitter with the caption “This is my young friend Sangmuan, 24 yo, after multiple trips. Engaged as an ambulance driver under CMO Churachandpur, he earns Rs 248 per day. Putting their lives at risk, with zero extra incentives, frontline workers needs our support.”

“I don’t have a time-bound routine. I used to get calls even at 6 am to pick up the COVID-19 patients and normally work seven days a week. But, I am happy that I am in a position to help others despite the risk involved in my work,” said Sangmuan.

At present, there are nine appointed ambulance drivers and two contractual drivers. However, as informed by Sangmuan, only two contract drivers, including him, are in direct contact with the COVID-19 patients. Others are engaged in various other duties like screening and vaccination etc., he said.

“I am assigned to pick up the COVID-19 patients from their homes once they tested positive. And my coworker’s work is to take the victims’ body to the graveyard for burial,” said Sangmuan, the eldest son in the family.

However, this is not the first time this young lad is engaged in such a challenging job. Earlier, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was already enlisted as a volunteer in the community to assist the COVID-19 patients and the families.

When it comes to the safety of his family members, Sangmuan is concerned that he’ll be the virus carrier for his family due to the nature of his work.

“Whenever I am in contact with a COVID-19 patient, I make sure to wear PPE throughout the journey and on reaching home; I change my outfits and take a shower before entering the house,” said Sangmuan.

I don’t have a choice when it comes to working, but I fulfil it as my duty, he added.

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