Coronavirus is slowly spreading its tentacles to rural areas but the stigma attached to patients has already reached the rural households. The result is near social boycott of patients and even suspects.

Realising its impact on people, Narsampet MLA Peddi Sudarshan Reddy has come up with a novel initiative of setting up isolation centres where those who can’t self-quarantine at homes due to stigma, can get space and medical assistance. Renting out a hostel, unused due to the lockdown, the MLA has set up a 100-bed isolation centre with 24-hour medical monitoring.

Out of the 475 cases so far in his constituency, Mr. Reddy says, 350 are from 81 families. So there is a spread within the families as there is no space for self-isolation. Moreover, house owners are driving tenants away. This isolation centre fills that gap.

The MLA is spending from his pocket for all the facilities for the admitted including nutritious meals three times a day and immunity boosters. All measures suggested by medical professionals on diet, medicines and exercises, are adhered to. “The district medical team is providing medicines and medical staff in three shifts to monitor the inmates continuously after CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao approved the idea,” he said.

Mr. Sudarshan Reddy says he gets a report of positive patients after the daily tests are done in the primary health centres in the constituency. Then his team calls up the positive patients to find out their condition.

“To ensure that the centre serves the most needy, the approval of the MRO concerned is made mandatory,” says Mr. Reddy, arguing that this is the only such facility by any MLA in India. As of now, 76 people are staying in the centre and realising that more patients would come in, the MLA is working on creating another 200-bed facility. When people are losing faith in elected representatives, particularly in COVID times, this comes as a big morale booster.

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