Published on May 13, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Dr Karanraj Vaghela, DCP Zone II of Vadodara city, was at SSG Hospital on Wednesday morning. “One of our staff members is admitted here with Covid complications. The family was worried, but we assured them that he is on the path of recovery. We also witnessed a case of mucormycosis in a constable, for which arrangements were made,” said the NHL Municipal Medical College graduate. “In all, I am overseeing about 220 cases of Covid-19 in the units assigned to me. It’s like being back in the medical field, albeit in a different role!”

In the past one year, over 10,000 officers and personnel were infected with Covid-19 out of the 1 lakh strong force. The state police have also witnessed deaths of about 50 members including senior officers like Dr M K Nayak due to the pandemic. Of 2,200 active cases in the police force, 58 are hospitalized, said senior state police officials.

Ashish Bhatia, state DGP, told TOI that the idea was to utilize the backgrounds of these senior officers to help the force.

“The initial project started with handholding and guiding the personnel and also disseminating right information on preventive aspects. But it took a formal shape with 18 officers with medical degrees being assigned different districts, cities and SRP groups recently,” he said. “Each officer daily takes stock of the cases, visits the hospitals and interacts with family members. They work as a bridge between the medical system and families,”

For the IPS officers, it’s like living dual lives. “We got trained as medical professionals, and I surely kept myself updated on Covid-19,” said Dr Leena Patil, SP of Panchmahal-Godhra. “Families often don’t understand some terms or their implications. We then try to simplify it for them and remain in touch with the treating doctors.”

Dr Ravindra Patel, DCP Zone I of Ahmedabad city, had recovered from Covid himself. “The experience comes handy when we explain it to the staff members, or when we talk about the procedures to be followed. The personnel also have questions on certain procedures and they can also panic when they test positive. We thus use our training as doctors to take them through the test scores and results,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to utilize our background in medicine to help our police families. We were proactive earlier too in terms of disseminating information and ensuring that our units remain Covid-free. But the current role is more formal where we are touching hundreds of lives,” said Dr Sudhir Desai, SP of Vadodara Rural.

Dr Rajdeepsinh Zala, SP Valsad, agrees. “We have carried out health check-up camps, created isolation facilities and have also inculcated Covid-appropriate habits in our staff,” he said.

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