M Ajanya had spent more than a week on a ventilator fighting off nipah.(HT PHOTO)
M Ajanya had spent more than a week on a ventilator fighting off nipah.(HT PHOTO)

Kerala nurse who survived nipah wants to care for Covid -19 patients

M Ajanya who survived the nipah virus, is a general nursing and midwifery graduate is waiting for her first job.
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuaram | By Ramesh Babu |Edited by Sabir Hussain
UPDATED ON MAY 12, 2020 05:06 PM IST

Two years after she became the first patient in Kerala to recover from the dreaded nipah virus, M Anjanya, now a qualified nurse, wants to work in Covid hospital as a mark of gratitude to those who had prayed for her.

The nipah virus which had an 80 per cent mortality rate had put her on ventilator for more than a week. But her recovery became a story of her resistance and the resolve of a team of dedicated medical professionals. It was also dubbed as a wonder in the medical world.

Ajanya who was then a nursing intern, graduated from the Government Nursing College in Kozhikkode with distinction in January is waiting for employment.

The 21-year-old GNM (general nursing and midwifery) graduate said, “I am yearning to work in a Covid hospital. I am sure we will overcome this challenge also. I love my profession more now. Many prayed for my life and it is time for me to pay back,” she said.

“Today is the World Nurses Day. Many frontline warriors have fallen prey to the monstrous virus. But their sacrifice inspires people like me and I am sure we will tame it soon,” she said.

The daughter of a farm labourer and ‘anganwadi’ worker she was afflicted with nipah while she was doing her internship at the Kozhikkode medical college hospital in 2018.

“I was in the ICU ward looking after my patients as part of my training. On May 18 I developed high fever and other ailments and got admitted at the same ward. Two days later I lost my consciousness. I was later told Lini Puthussery was in the same ward,” she said.

Lini, another nurse, was not lucky like her and died. Last year the state government instituted an award in Lini’s memory and the World Health Organization also lauded her contributions.

“I consider it as one of the noblest professions in the world. Becoming a nurse was my childhood dream. I feel I am nearer to my dream. I have applied at several places I am waiting for the call. As a beginner it is time for me to take challenges head on. I would love to care for Covid-19 patients,” she said.

Among the 19 infected with nipah Ajanya was the first to come out of the hospital and later Ubeesh, a male nurse, was also discharged but 17 others including Lini succumbed to the disease.

“After Lini’s death it was a big challenge for the medical team. A head nurse stayed at the hospital for a week noting down Ajanya’s condition every minute. It is great she is ready to take up the profession,” recalled district medical officer Dr V Jayasree. She also said that the nipah battle had made medical professionals in north Kerala bolder.

Nipah was an unknown virus, with no medicine or history of treatment or carriers and health experts hit a blind alley in the initial stages of the outbreak but they fought back valiantly and contained its secondary infection.

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