New Delhi – Five-year-old Soyri folds her hands in front of her face and presses her eyes tightly together: “Dear God, you made us. Make that we only do good deeds and that we are afraid of bad things so that we can eventually die happily. “
Every morning at half past six the day begins in the isolation ward for the children with a prayer. They ask for perseverance and strength – so that they can see their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles again soon.
“I pray to God that Corona will disappear and that everyone will be fine again soon.” It is the 14th day, the last day of her quarantine. BILD visits the little patients who are waiting for their freedom.
A doctor comes three times a week
In Germany, a corona isolation ward can only be entered through a security gate; every single room is hermetically sealed, sterile and meticulously clean. Here, in the children’s isolation ward in east Delhi, everything is different.
▶ ︎ There are metal beds in three rows, on top of which are mattresses with red-brown sheets. Many torn and full of holes. At the foot of the floor are the children’s belongings: a metal plate, a mug, a plastic bag with clothes, next to it is a pair of jeans.
A doctor comes to the ward three times a week and examines the lung functions. In the meantime, nurse Anvy Kumar Prasad (29) looks after his little patients around the clock. Measures a fever and blood oxygen levels. The young man has been living on the ward for a month now, sleeping in the conference room.
Meanwhile, he does not see his own family. “The pandemic stole their childhood, they have so many worries. You can see that in their eyes. But I am glad that they are all fit and healthy again, “he says, while he puts the white full protection over his legs. This is the only way he can enter the ward, which is locked with a bolt.
“Most children come alone”
Usually, Covid-19 infection is not that bad in children, but they still need more care when they are sick and separated from their families. Nurse Prasad: “Most of the children come here alone, some with their siblings. In the beginning they feel lonely and alone, do not understand why they are here. But that goes away quickly. “
Around 3 p.m. Prasad stands in the middle of the ward with the seven children facing him. He pretends, they imitate. A lot of fun for the little ones. First arms up and down, then jumping jack. This is quite exhausting for the carer, he wears full protection with two masks and gloves at 35 degrees. That doesn’t bother him: “The children are like my own.”
In India, the virus is still out of control. The risk of infection is particularly high in the poor parts of the capital Delhi, in the narrow streets of the slums.
Dozens of people live here in overcrowded homeless shelters or on the streets. There is no clean water, but unreasonable hygiene conditions and, recently, a strict lockdown. In other words: Here the hunger is often greater than the fear of becoming infected. The children on the ward also come from these areas.
The little patients have been fighting bravely in the isolation ward for two weeks, although they long for their home. One boy says: “My mom can’t be here because she has to look after my brother and can’t get sick. I finally want to go back to my mom. “
Iron bars on the windows
To see the little children locked up like that seems strange. Iron bars are attached to all windows of the station. Six children climb onto a bed, pull themselves up on the bars to look out. Buses, tuk-tuks, scooters and cars honk and jostle on the street in front of the orange house. Fascinated and amused, the little ones hang by the window, giggling and babbling.
It’s the last evening with the new friends from the isolation ward. Sleep one more time and it’s over.
Many children in India urgently need help, especially in the slums. Corona has made your situation even worse.
The BILD aid organization EIN HEZ FÜR KINDER supports more than 40 projects with thousands of children in India, helps in schools, orphanages, refuges and hospitals. Please help us to help further!
BILD hilft eV A heart for children
IBAN: DE60 2007 0000 0067 6767 00
Or donate online at www.ehfk.de or at www.paypal.me/einherzfuerkinder