A group of Muslim businessmen and social activists in Tumakuru (previously Tumkur) town in Karnataka have turned a building owned by one among them into a 50-bed Covid care centre. It has been named as Salam Covid Care Centre and is administering treatment to 50 to 60 patients everyday in the day care centre. It is awaiting approval from the district administration to admit in-patients.
Builder Iqbal Ahmed had constructed a 10,000 sq. ft. building in Veerasagara, 3 km from the city centre and was waiting approval from authorities to start a Pharmacy College. He and some of his businessmen friends and social activists from Tablighi Jamaat and Jamaat-e-Islami have now decided to use it as a Covid care centre.
Iqbal Ahmed who is ex-chairman of the District Wakf Committee and former secretary of the KPCC, told this scribe that the ground plus two floor building is constructed over 160 ft. by 80 ft. plot of land. Even last year during the Covid-I, they used the complex as a Fever Clinic and provided treatment to nearly 4,000 patients, regardless of religious affiliation. They examined them for Covid by conducting RT-PCR tests.
Iqbal has been joined by industrialist Abdul Hafeez, businessman Mudassir Ahmed, social workers Rehan, Asifullah from Tabilighi Jamaat and Mukarram Saad of Jamaat-e-Islami. The team of doctors offering treatment this year includes Dr. Mudassir of Sri Siddhartha Medical College; Dr. Asghar Baig, Government Medical Officer from Sira; Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor at the Sridevi Medical College; Dr. Mohammad Imran and Dr. Ameen Ubaid, Unani practitioners. The team of paramedics and non-technical staff comprise 12 persons.
According to Iqbal Ahmed, currently patients with mild and moderate Covid symptoms are being provided free consultation, free testing and free medicine. The Salam Education and Charitable Trust which has organized the entire operations approached the District administration to provide oxygen cylinders to take up emergency treatment for critically ill patients. They also plan to add quarantine facilities.
The Trust got 30 persons trained as volunteers last year for examining the patients for Covid by conducting RT-PCR test and provided them with PPE kits and other safety equipment.
Iqbal Ahmed owns a real estate firm and a construction company. He distributed 8,000 ration kits among the deserving families last year during the lockdown in the State. His philanthropic gesture and the selfless service have received wide acclaim among the townfolk and the local media.
M A Siraj is Bengaluru based seasoned journalist who writes for a variety of newspapers including The Hindu, and news portals.