On the frontline: People need to stay at home for the lockdown to work effectively, says Charnjit Singh Sahni
Through the Guru Nanak Medical Foundation, which is run from the gurudwara premises, Sahni started giving medical services through our trustee Dr Dashmeet Singh’s consultationUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 16:33 IST
Charnjit Singh Sahni is the president of Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Camp, who believes in being of service to humanity. Although he is a businessman in the solar industry, the 63-year-old has left the business to his children while he devotes his time to social work and the gurudwara.
What exactly is your role during this crisis?
In our religion, we are taught the mantra - Garib ka Muh, Guru ki golak hai” (no one should sleep hungry and feeding the needy is equivalent to giving a donation to the gurudwara) - so, ever since the lockdown started, we decided to reach out to the maximum number of people with the basic need for food. Through our Guru Nanak Medical Foundation, which is run from the gurudwara premises, we started giving medical services through our trustee Dr Dashmeet Singh’s consultation. Then, we started receiving demands from various hospitals and people staying nearby the gurudwara. We first got a requirement from the Army Hospital for ventilators for the new hospital they were setting up for Covid-19 patients in Wanowrie, so we decided to give them four ventilators. Then, we have also given sanitizers, masks, face shields to the needy too. After demands from the Pune Cantonment Board police stations, we have donated hand wash units. We also got a demand from the Sassoon hospital for oxymeters and within a day, we arranged 100 oxymeters and gave it to the dean. Personal protective equipment (PPE) kits are in demand and we gave 100 to the Army hospital, 50 to the Muslim Popular Front group, an NGO authorised by PMC to arrange funerals, 50 PPEs to Family Planning Association of India who are working with AIDS patients and 50 to the Indian Medical Association. We will soon be giving ICU monitors to Sassoon hospital.
How does your day begin and roll out?
I wake up by 5am, begin my prayers and do some yoga and if possible walk within my society, then post 8am, begins all the coordination for making chappattis. Then by 10:30 am, I coordinate with the distribution team and attend to the daily calls of demands from hospitals, NGOs and the needy people. We also hold online conferences with the medical team for approvals and then for the final nod with the management team. By 10pm, I usually spend time with my family.
What precautions are you taking?
We do not go out, we manage everything from home. We follow the rules and only in case of emergency do we go out, wearing masks, gloves and maintain social distance.
What is your assessment of the Covid-19 crisis n Pune? How is it unfolding?
Pune is managing it very well on the field and trying their level best to control it, but we feel that there is a need for a stronger appeal to people to follow and cooperate with the government’s decision and stay at home to make this lockdown work better and learn to live with whatever is at home.
What gaps do you see in healthcare and relief work?
This pandemic was so sudden for the city that no one is prepared for it and however, the administration and the hospitals are working on a war footing to control the spread. The frontline doctors and paramedical staff’s safety should be our priority as well.