I love my profession more now, says first Nipah survivor

When M Ajanya opened her eyes in a hospital room after remaining unconscious for almost a week, she saw doctors and nurses in protective gear hugging themselves and jumping with joy.

She wasn’t aware of the dreaded nature of , the highly contagious virus that claimed 17 lives in north Kerala, a majority of them in district.

When the duty doctor came the same day she asked him why she was bed-ridden for long and very weak.

“The doctor smiled at me and said I was infected with a rare virus called Nipah and they removed it from my body successfully,” the 19-year-old said.

The second-year student of the Government Nursing College in Kozhikode is the first person to come out of the hospital on Monday after the outbreak of the deadly disease since last month. Ubeesh, a male nurse, will be discharged after two days.

The daughter of a farm labourer said ignorance was really blissful for her and she never thought she will be in headlines.

“I was really stunned when state health minister KK Shailaja called on me on Sunday. She was very sympathetic and pledged all support to come up in life,” Ajanya said.

She contracted the virus when she was posted at the medical college hospital’s casualty wing for a week from April 30 as part of her training. She started showing symptoms after two weeks and was rushed to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on May 18.

Back from the jaws of death, the first Nipah survivor in the state says her love towards her profession has increased manifold and that her stay at the hospital has helped her realise its importance.

“When I was slowly regaining my conscious I could see doctors and nurses were really toiling to save my life. Now, I can recall their efforts,” she said.

“I love my profession more. I would like to devote my life nursing back many lives,” she said.

Doctors have advised her a two-week rest but Ajanya is all excited to go back to college.

“Passed a test of life, now my first priority is to complete my nursing course. I would love to nurse the suffering,” she said.

District medical officer Dr V Jayasree said they have conducted many tests on her and all are negative.

“She can lead a normal life now. Bringing her back to life was a real challenge and full credit goes to the medical fraternity who really toiled day in and out,” Dr Jayasree added.

Experts have lauded the service of three women, including health minister KK Shailaja, state health director Dr RL Saritha and Dr Jayasree, for rising up to the occasion.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said last week that the Nipah infection has been contained but the government would continue to monitor the affected areas.