COVID-19 Warrior Bestowed With Kalpana Chawla Award

Thirty-two-year-old Dr P Shanmuga Priya, serving as Medical officer at an Urban Primary Health Centre in Madurai was eight months pregnant but that did not deter her from being in the forefront in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic during the devastating second wave.

She was asked to avail the maternity leave and stay back at home but she would not listen. She continued to attend fever surveillance camps and treat Covid-19 positive patients. While being on the battle line she ended up testing positive for the dreaded virus and succumbing to it finally.

All happened in just a week. She displayed exemplary medical services with dedication and courage to win the Tamil Nadu government’s ‘Kalpana Chawla Award’ for courage and daring enterprise posthumously. Chief Minister M K Stalin presented the award to her husband S Shanmuga Perumal at the 75th Independence Day celebrations at Fort St George.

The citation of award read: Dr P Shanmuga Priya, Medical Officer, Annuppanadi Primary Health Centre, Madurai contributed exemplary medical services with dedication and courage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the second wave of COVID-19, she attended 582 fever surveillance camps and monitored the process of swab collection in 10,961 persons and through this camp, 302 active cases were identified and necessary medical care was given to them. She personally treated and monitored 52 COVID-19 positive patients who were in home quarantine.

She tested positive for COVID-19 on May 01, 2021 and expired seven days later despite the best medical care. In appreciation of her brave, courageous and selfless service in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government confers Kalpana Chawla Award for courage and daring enterprise for the year 2021 to her posthumously.