Covid 19 in Chiluvuru

By Doc Yarlagadda

One of our board members, Neal Frey, shared the title of a sermon he heard this Sunday Morning March 22, 2020, (Vineyardcolumbus.org) called “ A Mighty Fortress is our God”.

For those of us that believe in God, God is strength, God is courage, God is our rock. God is a fortress, God is reassuring, God is comfort, God is hope beyond all hopes, and God is a shoulder on which to rest. The best response for this Covid 19 crisis is God. Of course, the governments have to play their roles. Individuals have to play their roles. Doctors and medical professionals have to make sacrifices. God uses them in situations like this.

Doc talking about the cross made by Harvey Chupp with staff members.

Covid 19 is in India and particularly in Chiluvuru, where Menno-Clinic is located. A person in the village came from Australia recently and brought Covid 19 with him. Now that there is a reported case of Covid 19 in Chiluvuru, it is close to home. We are thankful that Olga returned home this week before flight travel was restricted.

Let’s suppose this person traveled from the nearest airport which is located in Vijayawada. By the time he gets to Chiluvuru he is in close proximity with hundreds of people if he traveled during the rush hour. In Vijayawada, every hour is a rush hour. India has been very good so far in regards to Covid-19, but it may change soon as the population density is high and hygiene is generally low.  Poor people cannot afford hand sanitizers. I have learned from many sources that Indian Government has put out the best effort in the world to contain Covid 19.

The state of Andhra Pradesh has shut down everything just like in the United States. It pains us to say that we had to shut down Menno Clinic in Chiluvuru until April 1st. This decision was made by the staff and the administrators unanimously. We will reevaluate on April 1, 2020. 

Realistically, we think we may be shutting down for the entire month of April. Almost half of the patients that come to the clinic are in advanced stages of diabetes. The other half have what are called viral fevers, and some have underlying health conditions. As we understand, diabetics and people with underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable to Covid 19 virus.

If one patient unknowingly is positive to the virus comes to the clinic and sits in close quarters with others, we may have a real problem. We neither have the resources nor the sophistication that big hospitals have, and we may only contribute to the problem. Dalai Lama once said, “Our primary responsibility is to help other people. If we can’t help them, please don’t hurt them.” We don’t want to hurt them.

Keeping up with the Christian principles of kindness, compassion, and generosity, we are taking care of all our employees and our regular vendors that depend on us for their livelihood. When we shut down the clinic and sent them home, we gave our employees the rest of their salary for the month. If we have to close the place longer, we will cover them again. We will make every effort to attend to their financial needs during this crisis. 

Meanwhile trust God and keep safe. This too shall pass.

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