Indian doctor opens up about working with patients…

It has been two months now, since Dr Kalyani Gomathinayagam, 46, returned to India. She is the only Indian doctor to have traversed the Ebola-ravaged terrains of West Africa since the outbreak began in March this year.

Describe a normal day in the case management camp at Foya.

We would reach out to any village resident suspected of having ebola-like symptoms. We would draw their blood for testing and put them in the ‘suspect’ area for six hours. If tested positive, they would be moved to the ‘confirmed’ area. Fresh blood tests would be conducted after 48 to 72 hours. We used to work in high-risk units with patients, a zone in which we could not make more than three rounds per day. We also conducted outreach programmes in the village. Some patients, who were symptomatic but were in denial, would refuse to come to the camp for treatment. So we had to counsel them and their families on taking proper care.

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