July 18, 2021

TN: SFI Hailed for Covid Relief Activities

V B Ganesan

“MY grateful thanks in millions are due to the SFI team for their selfless work,” beamed Revathi Balan, dean of Thoothukudi Government Medical College, before the media.

In 2019, when the Covid-19 pandemic was snatching the lives of people, braving the unknown consequences, the SFI unit of Thoothukudi district consciously took the decision to help the medical administration in their efforts to save lives.

As an organisation with social consciousness, SFI was in the forefront to safeguard the people. It stood with the district administration in its relief activities. It was a welcome departure from the then prevailing situation wherein except for the frontline medical professionals, other sections of the society were afraid of coming near the corona affected patients.

Considering such a selfless contribution rendered by the SFI, when the second wave of pandemic started in full swing in April-May this year, the district collector of Thoothukudi called upon the SFI cadres once again to support the frontline medical personnel to meet the dire situation.

Since May 10, under the leadership of Joyson, district secretary of SFI, a team of 36 members have involved themselves in the daunting task. They worked day and night, in shifts, for more than 50 days to contain the virus in the district. This team was involved in various types of work from operating the hospital lift to informing the condition of the patients to their relatives. They greatly relieved the burden of health professionals who, despite many casualties among their ranks, are fighting for the lives of patients.

Such an effort was not restricted only to Thoothukudi. Similar efforts were made by the SFI units in Virudhunagar, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Tiruppur, Namakkal, Puducherry, Thiruvallur and Chengalpattu district. On an average, 130 students in every district worked in collaboration with medical professionals and district administration for more than 50 days. They have undertaken varied tasks such as providing food to the patients, providing oxygen to the needy, managing the data entry of vaccination, donating blood, undertaking corona testing in villages and driving ambulance and mortuary vans whenever required.

The volunteers involved in this effort were very emotional when they described the response from the common people who were astonished upon seeing the dedication of the students in these activities. The volunteers said that their simple consolatory words gave much relief to the relatives of the patients and during this period the medical professionals treated them as one of their ilk.

State health minister Ma. Subramanian, during his inspection in the hospitals, congratulated the SFI volunteers and said that they have taken up a job no one was willing to undertake during the pandemic. Similar accolades were extended by School education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi, Thoothukudi district collector Senthil Raj, DSP Jayakumar and others.

It was a great experience for the SFI in the state to be in the forefront in the fight against corona and the response from the people was very encouraging and made them resolve to work harder.

(Based on the inputs from V Mariappan, secretary, SFI, Tamil Nadu)