Kozhikode: A year ago the northern part of Kerala was struck by Nipah virus, which took the lives of more than a dozen people. The casualties included a nurse, Lini, who attended to Nipah suspects or patients at a local hospital here. Her death, on this day last year, highlighted the dangers of the healthcare professionals even as tributes poured in from various parts of the world. Her death had touched the hearts of many as she left behind two children and her husband.
On Tuesday, the first death anniversary of Lini, Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja remembered her selfless efforts. While paying respect for the services of Lini, she also urged the public to be careful, as the scientists have warned against the inability to stop the recurrence of the disease.
“The chances of a Nipah outbreak is more during the breeding period of bats, which is from December to January. The health department has taken all the precautions against an outbreak and isolation wards have been arranged in all the medical colleges. Awareness programmes are also in full swing. But we have to be alert and work together to prevent other outbreaks like dengue, H1N1 and jaundice. While paying respect to the memory of Lini, let us pledge together to jointly fight against all the communicable diseases,” the minister stated on her Facebook page.
Lini, a nurse at Perambra taluk hospital, was suspected to have contracted the disease while attending to Sabith, the first unconfirmed victim of Nipah. He was taken to Perambra hospital, before his condition worsened and shifted to government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. Meanwhile, Lini too suffered from headache and fever.
Lini's timely alert helped to prevent the spread of the disease in her circle. When she reached the MCH, she told the doctors that she could be infected with Nipah virus and should be placed in an isolation ward. She did not allow even her mother and sister to come near her, fearing that the disease could be contracted. When death was certain, Lini wrote to her husband in Bahrain for the last time. “I am almost on the way. I don’t think that we can meet again… sorry…Please take our sons Lavan and Kunju to Gulf. Don’t live alone like our father. With lots of love…”
In honour of Lini, the Kerala government changed the name of the award given to the best nurse as ‘Sister Lini Puthussery Award’.
Jim Campbell, Director, Health Workforce at World Health Organisation, had recalled Lini’s sacrifice on Twitter.
The state government had earlier appointed Lini’s husband as a lower-division clerk at the District Medical Office, Kozhikode, and deposited Rs 10 lakh each for the education of her two children.