Bandipora: Dr Nabeel Ishtiyaq is the lone epidemiologist in Bandipora district. When covid19 spread in China in 2019, he went door to door in Bandipora to collect details of the students studying in China so as to devise a plan for managing their return and arrange a quarantine facility for them.
It seemed a one day job at that time but since then he is on toes working round the clock to study and plan policy against covid19 pandemic and has now become a backbone of Bandipora Health Sector. He is the man behind contact tracing, extensive testing that helped in finding the source of infection at local level and behind the scene covid management and its study.
Spending several days and nights at stretch in the office, studying the pattern of spread, Dr Nabeel and his team worked in such a friendly atmosphere in the office that helped them keep going despite physical fatigue.
The man with a golden heart- Dr Nabeel Ishtiyaq is supervising all covid related activities at District Control Room at Chief Medical officers’ Office Mini -Secretariat Bandipora.
During lockdown and subsequent fight against COVID, he has been on front performing every duty with dedication.
Dr Nabeel said there were times when they spent several days and nights at stretch at Control Room without going home when Bandipora witnessed a huge surge in covid cases earlier last year. “We were in constant contact with suspected covid positive people and hence I was reluctant to visit my home to meet kids and parents,” he said.
The fight against covid19 in Bandipora started with tracing students studying in China so that their return and requisite quarantine is arranged. “But then the virus spread fast here also and the spread was huge in Bandipora at the initial stage,” he said.
He said as they were unaware about the behavior of the virus, they started informing people about maintaining personal hygiene and organised weekly awareness programmes at Panchayat level. On Sundays, Dr Nabeel himself pasted posters in public places including markets, outside schools, mosques and playgrounds to create awareness about covid19 .
As the Bandipora reported first covid death in Hajin that acted as super spreader in the area, Dr Nabeel was the front man to take up the task of contact tracing and subsequent testing to ensure the positive cases are isolated at earliest. The hard work of the team lead by Dr Nabeel paid off as the administration was able to control the spread.
Since then Dr Nabeel has been involved in the process of contact tracing, preparing the data, studying and analyzing it to make strategies to fight the pandemic.
When Bandipora was the first to be declared a red zone, he was dealing with Contact tracing, containment, Sampling constitution of village wise surveillance committees, referral of symptomatic persons, Consolidation of home quarantine persons Information, managing 24*7 control room.
Nowadays the team led by the Epidemiologist-Dr Nabeel is tracking the vaccination process and are sending teams across the district in every nook and corner to ensure the target population above the age of 45 years are vaccinated.
He said an intensive vaccination drive has been launched in the district and the front line workers are travelling the most difficult terrains of the district to reach the eligible population to vaccinate them at their doorsteps.
Dr Nabeel said 101379 doses have been administered so far out of which 89413 persons were given the first dose while 11966 eligible persons have got both the doses. He said about 87 percent people above the age of 45 years have been vaccinated so far and soon the target will be achieved.
“We are doing this for the society because this virus spares none and God forbid if this virus spreads it will be a disaster for the Kashmir valley,” he said. “Even the countries with the best healthcare facilities were unable to deal with the disastrous outcome of this deadly virus.”
The health care workers in Kashmir are doing their best and leaving no stone unturned to safeguard every life. “We are contributing our bit and we urge the residents to do theirs as well by staying at home and adopting covid appropriate behavior,” Dr Nabeel added.