Migrant workers recovering from coronavirus have been inducted by the West Bengal government as members of "Covid-19 warriors club" to provide a healing touch to people undergoing treatment for infection in different hospitals in the metropolis, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
Forty-nine migrant workers cured of the deadly disease have been enrolled in the club to assist patients admitted to hospitals for virus.
They hail from Birbhum, Coochbehar, Purba and Paschim Medinipur besides Murshidabad, he said.
They are given a monthly honorarioum of Rs 15,000, he said.
"The primary job of these COVID-19 warriors is to keep up the morale of the patients currently undergoing treatment in the coronavirus wards in hospitals by sharing with them their own stories of recovery.
"These men also provide updates to the relatives of those being treated," he said.
Before pressing them into service, the cured migrant labourers were imparted training for at least seven days about safety measures while assisting a patient at the COVID-19 wards, the official said.
"They are basically providing non-medical services mainly through counselling. They also play a role in raising awareness about the contagion among the patients, their relatives and others," the official said.
They have been given lessons on how to change oxygen cylinders, check blood pressure, body temperature and a few other basics of treating a patient, he said.
Currently these 49 COVID-19 warriors are working in different hospitals in the Kolkata, including the state-run Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute at Rajarhat, M R Bangur Hospital, the official said.
All of them have been put up at the Youth Hostel at Salt Lake stadium.
The state government plans to set up similar clubs in other districts too, the official added.
Roping in of Covid-19 club warriors besides boosting manpower to attend the coronavirus persons in different hospitals in city is also aimed at de-stressing those being treated for the virus.
Lakhs of migrant workers returned to their native places in West Bengal by trains, buses while some cycled back home from different parts of the country due to pandemic and also loss of jobs. Many of them tested positive later.