Seconds after receiving a call, Ganesh and Prashant – frontline workers in the fight against coronovirus in Kerala – start donating their personal protective equipment. Within minutes, two more men rush into the same room to change into their PPE. These people, working around the clock, are part of the emergency response teams of COVID-19 ambulances in the state.
“We are going to a quarantine center. Someone needs to be taken to the hospital for swab collection. I have been on this duty for three days. I work cumulatively for a few days before returning to my family. I am proud. A part of this team, “said Mr. Ganesh, a technician with the Emergency Response Team.
The ambulance team plays a key role in the COVID-19 fight, taking people from airports, railway stations and quarantine centers to hospitals and other locations on the instructions of health officials and district-level COVID war rooms.
“Whenever we are on duty with COVID-19 suspects, we make sure we take precautions, wear PPE kits and masks. If a patient tests positive, we are away for 3-4 days as a precaution. Return to their families only after living. ” , One of the members of the ambulance team, told NDTV.
However, due to arrears for months, these people are finding it difficult to have a final meeting.
“We are ready to work round the clock. But, we want our salary on time. These are not large amounts. They are Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. We have not received the salary of April till now. We have partial arrears since January. One of the members Shankar said that it is difficult for us to continue in this way.
“We do not want to protest right now because it is an emergency because of COVID-19, but it is very harsh on us and our families,” said Mr. Prashant, an ambulance pilot.
Of the 15,0000 operated by GVK EMRI across the country, 108 are ambulances – a company providing emergency services.
A source in the company said the payment has not been processed due to fund issues.
“We have not paid salaries for April due to fund issues. Partial funds are also awaited for January, February, March. We are expecting government funds by next week”.