Who: Jeminiben Joshi, a 71 year old Matron at Zydus Medical College and Hospital, Dahod, Gujarat.
What: Jeminiben worked tirelessly devoting long hours; doing back-breaking work.
Why: In her seventies and at a significantly higher risk Jeminiben disregarded her own safety and nursed COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic.
A Single Minded Ascetic
Dahod in the State of Gujarat takes its name from Saint Dadhichi, who it is said, had an Ashram on the banks of Dudhumati river. Saint Dadhichi, played an important role in the conflict between the Devas and Asuras and is said to be the epitome of duty and sacrifice.
Jeminiben Joshi an unassuming matron in her seventies hails from this city. And like the eponym of Dahod embodies a strong sense of duty. This unsung COVID-19 hero, who works at the Zydus Medical College and Hospital, played an important role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeminiben started her nursing career as a nurse and retired as a state government hospital matron in 2009. But she had no intention of putting her feet up. Even after 42 years of service she insists that she wants to do Sewa (sevice) for the ailing till the end. She leads an almost ascetic lifestyle, wakes up at 5 am and eats one meal a day for 3 days a week. She fasts for 4 days in a week, when she lives only on water and tea. She prefers to climb the stairs and not to use the hospital elevator. Her role as a Matron involves management of hospitals 304 nursing staff, taking regular rounds of the ICU and OPD ward etc.
Insurmountable Odds of the Medical Staff
India recorded an unprecedented surge in Covid cases during the pandemic. Matters were made worse due to the chronic shortage of medical staff in India’s health system. In a first-of-its-kind stock-taking exercise in the backdrop of the pandemic the 15th Finance Commission reported a
significant shortage of medical staff. The findings of the report were that there is 1 nurse for 670 patients. Therefore the role of an experienced matron like Jemniben with a passion towards service, became invaluable. Jeminiben served the COVID ward during the first and the second wave administering medicines, oxygen, taking samples for testing and holding the patients hands as they lie in prone position to improve their breathing. Wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE) kit, as part of her duty she went on regular hospital rounds. She interacted with the patients on a one-to-one basis, giving them hope – an important remedial and curable factor in patient care and treatment. When asked about the high risk of COVID-19 among frontline medical staff, especially a significant risk of infection among the elderly, she says in her frail but unafraid, Gujarati accent “No Bhaiya, I am not afraid.”
‘Ba, Dadi… The Beloved Jemininben Won Hearts
The patients were amazed at Jeminiben, a retired matron tirelessly devoting long hours; doing back-breaking work in the uncomfortable PPE kit. Even after getting better, the patients never forget Jeminiben’s service and care.
The nurses at the hospital address Jeminiben by different names Matron madam, Ba, Dadi, and go to her with their problems and look up to her for guidance. “She solves our problem and does care for us, but also scolds us when we are not punctual or not in proper uniform” says one of the nurses at the hospital.
Jeminiben Joshi has devoted her entire life to the service of patients. If her work during this pandemic has inspired or moved you, do cast your vote for her. Here is how you can vote for your favorite nominee for Jagran New Media & OnlyMyHealth’s HealthCare Heroes Awards 2021.