Meghalaya villagers aid quarantined families, leave no room for stigmatisation

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Posted in Featured, Meghalaya

In a show of camaraderie, residents of a village in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district have come to the aid of other villagers who have been quarantined after coming in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

A young woman from Mawtharia, a village of 70 households, contacted the disease while working as domestic help for Dr John Sailo Ryntathiang, the only person to die of COVID-19 in Meghalaya so far.

The woman has been sent to a COVID-19 hospital in Shillong while 35 persons from 18 households, including her family members, have been home quarantined. Their samples have tested negative for the disease, village headman B Suting said.

The ‘dorbar’ or village committee has taken it upon itself to provide food, water and other essential commodities to the home quarantined families by maintaining social distancing and also ensure that they are not stigmatised, he said.

Their initiatives have also been praised by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.

“A sense of responsibility came to our minds upon hearing that there is a COVID-19 patient from our village. In fact, most of our village now looks like a quarantine centre as 18 families have been placed under home isolation,” Suting told PTI.

The village headman said he had called up the emergency helpline number and informed the Block Development Office, following which necessary isolation procedures were undertaken.

“The swift response of the Health officials and Mylliem Block Development Officer (BDO) Peter Passah helped us avert a potentially dangerous situation,” he said.

Suting said he is optimistic that the COVID-19 patient from the village will recover.

M Kurkalang of Ka Sengbhalang ki Kynthei, a women welfare organisation, praised the village committee for handling the situation effectively.

“They took care of the families leaving no room for stigmatisation. They supplied food, water and other essential commodities to the affected families by maintaining social distancing,” she said.

The villagers have formed a COVID-19 committee to strictly implement the quarantine measures. The local youths are monitoring the movement of people in the village and ensuring that the residents follow the lockdown norms, wear masks, maintain social distancing and hygiene, BDO Peter Passah said.

ASHA workers are monitoring the health of the home quarantined persons, Passah added.

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