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Who is Vasanthi Lara, only health worker from Kerala to get ‘Covid Women Warrior: Real Heroes’ award?

Alappuzha General Hospital’s lady health inspector Vasanthi Lara recently received the ‘Covid Women Warrior: Real Heroes’ award, becoming the only health worker from Kerala who was chosen by the National Commission for Women for the recognition. She was conferred with the award at an event in New Delhi by Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar. “Indian women have spread their glory in every sector and they are very powerful. A large number of women are also engaged in the agriculture sector. However, women do face problems at various phases of their lives. NCW is actively working towards providing justice to women across the country,” Javadekar said during the award ceremony.

Speaking about the early COVID-19 days last year, Vasanthi said, “February 1 was a terrible day in my life. A report arrived from the state health department saying that the second case of coronavirus has been reported in our district. But we were unaware of the consequences of the disease. The only way in front of us was to prepare teams to prevent the disease from spreading. Immediately, the entire medical team started functioning like a well-oiled machine. Since then, our team has managed to contain the disease and treated thousands of patients with care and caution. Tracing persons violating quarantine and moving around was a huge challenge. Local residents were cooperative in the health department’s efforts.”

Vasanthi, who has worked with the health department for the last 30 years, started her journey in 1989 from a Primary Health Center at Omanur, Malappuram after completing the Health Inspector course at Varkala Mission Hospital. The Mullakkal native was promoted to the position of Health Inspector in 1991. Last year she had received Kerala’s Best Woman Health Inspector award for services during the 2018 flood from Health Minister KK Shailaja. Vasanthi’s husband, Shabeer Khan, who is a native of Pathanapuram, settled down in Alappuzha last year after working in Dubai for many years. Her daughter Sara is a medical student and son Ismail is a dentist.

The Covid warrior list also included four Maharashtra IPS officers – Amravati Commissioner of Police Arti Singh, Aurangabad Superintendent of Police Mokshada Patil, Solapur SP Tejaswi Satpute and Mumbai Zone V Deputy Commissioner Niyati Thaker Dave. Sheopur’s Anganwadi worker Ms Nazira Khan, Telangana Women Safety DIG B Sumathi, Haryana DSP Purnima Singh, Odisha police, Himachal Sub-Inspector Garima Surya, Dr Shova Mishra CDM & PHO Nabarangpur were also among the winners.

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