Wearing an orange overcoat, 20-year-old J. Abirami, who has completed her diploma in Operation Theatre and Anaesthesia Technology, goes door to door every morning checking for fever among residents of Nallan Kuppam in West Mambalam, Chennai.

For her, COVID-19 has provided hands-on training in serving the public before she starts working at a hospital.

“I finished the course recently, and was waiting to get my transfer certificate to apply for a job at a hospital. But due to COVID-19, this has been delayed,” she explains adding that her father is also a conservancy worker with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). And so, she grabbed the opportunity to work as a ‘fever surveyor’ with the GCC as it would give her a chance to serve people too.

“I have been given a certain number of streets to cover. I go to every house daily and check the temperature of the residents and take note of other symptoms too. This is then handed over to the GCC officials to take necessary action,” she says.

The ₹12,000 she gets from GCC helps her support her family. However, she sometimes gets disappointed with the treatment meted out to her by members of the public.

“Most of them (residents) are very cordial, but a few treat me with disregard. They ask why I am coming daily,” she claims.

But unmindful of this, she continues to do her job. “My parents are worried, but I pacify them by explaining that I would have to work with patients at a hospital too,” she adds before ringing the doorbell of a house to get on with her work.

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