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Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Meet India’s Women Battling COVID Crisis

Here are some women who have played a significant role and made a remarkable difference in the COVID-19 battle.

Updated
Women
4 min read

Video Producer: Hera Khan

Video Editor: Varun Sharma

From doctors to pilots, from ASHA workers to village sarpanchs – countless women across the country are fronting India’s fight against the coronavirus crisis.

We bring you some women who have played a significant role and made a remarkable difference in the battle against COVID-19.

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1. Minal Bhosale

Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale led from the front to create India's first coronavirus testing kit. She submitted the kit to the authorities for approval just a day before she gave birth to her daughter.0

Bhosale's efforts came to fruition with her team delivering the testing kit in a record time of six weeks. “It was like giving birth to two babies,” she told PTI.

2. Swati Rawal

Captain Swati Rawal of Air India created history on 22 March when she came to the rescue of Indian students stuck in Italy. Along with Captain Raja Chauhan, she piloted the Boeing 777 that brought them back. She is the first civilian woman pilot to fly a rescue aircraft during the coronavirus pandemic.

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3. S Vinothini

Twenty-five-year-old S Vinothini, who was employed at a private hospital in Tamil Nadu’s Trichy, rushed 250 km to Ramanathapuram to serve in the primary health centre. She was eight months pregnant when she undertook this journey to care for coronavirus patients.

4. Dr Zakia Syed

“We cannot afford to be scared,” these were the words of Dr Zakia Syed, who went back to continue her COVID-19 duty after she was attacked by a mob in Indore. A group of doctors went to Tatpatti Bakhal area in Indore to screen people for the coronavirus when they were attacked with stones by the locals.

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5. Dr Beela Rajesh

Tamil Nadu’s Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh is the face of the coronavirus fight in the state. Her constant updates have earned praise. Dr Rajesh stood out when she called out stigmatisation of coronavirus patients.

“Nobody wishes this virus upon themselves, so please do not stigmatise people who have tested positive. Let's be a little kind. The focus should be on treatment and cure,” she has appealed constantly since the crisis began to unfold in the state.

6. Akhila Yadav

Telangana’s youngest sarpanch – 25-year-old Akhila Yadav of Madanapuram village in Nalgonda district – is making sure people follow social distancing and lockdown rules.

“Initially, people were not taking lockdown seriously. People from other villages, cities were entering freely. So I decided to sit at the entrance of the village and made sure there was no travel if not for a valid reason,” Yadav told news agency PTI.

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7. Dr Priya Abraham

The National Institute of Virology (NIV), affiliated to the ICMR, was initially the first and only testing centre for coronavirus in India. The institution, considered the backbone of India’s coronavirus fight, is led by Dr Priya Abraham.

With the number of cases spiking every day, the NIV under Abraham’s leadership was successful in reducing the testing time to four hours from 12-14 hours per sample.

8. Krishnaveni

ASHA worker Krishnaveni was conducting a door-to-door survey of people in Bengaluru’s Sadiq Layout when the locals attacked her and snatched her bag and mobile phone. While the police were alerted immediately and five were held for the incident, Krishnaveni continued with her work – collecting travel information and checking the locals for coronavirus symptoms.

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9. Razia Begum

A 48-year-old woman in Telangana, Razia Begum, rode nearly 1,400 km on a scooter over three days to bring home her son, who was stuck in Nellore in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh owing to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“It was a difficult journey on a small two-wheeler. But the determination to bring my son back overtook all my fears,” said Begum.

10. Reshma Mohandas

32-year-old Reshma Mohandas, from Kerala’s Kottayam nursed the country’s oldest COVID-19 patients back to health, only to be infected by the virus herself. But that has not dampened her spirits and she wants to jump right back in. Now recovered, Mohandas is rearing to get back to work.

“They were really scared. I am the first healthcare worker they were in contact with. So they were panicking and scared that this virus had spread so rapidly. I explained to them that they needn't fear and having the virus didn't mean they would die. This was just like any other disease,” Reshma told The Quint.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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