Author: Hamideh Shastan
At a time when the world is cut up about the Covid-19 outbreak and the governments in different countries are involved in prevention, raising awareness, quarantine and vaccination in order to guarantee the safety of the people of their countries, in Iran however this process is turning out differently. When in many countries of the world people were quarantined and travel restrictions were put in place, internal and external traveling in Iran was being carried out normally and offices and market places were operating as usual.
Instead of preventing the spread of the virus, awareness raising and providing financial aid to encourage people to stay home, the state did the opposite. In a country with such a critical condition security and health of the public is not a priority and the spread of the Corona virus is axiomatic. In provinces such as Sistan and Baluchestan health of the people is not a priority and for a long time people have been denied their basic human rights including security, health, correct information and education among others.
And there is no doubt that the Corona pandemic has put the people in a dire and uncontrollable situation. Currently due to the spread of the Delta variant in this region the situation is extremely critical. Due to lack of access to approved vaccines and the slow paced vaccination process this disease has engrossed many families and consequently many young and old have lost their lives. Health centres and hospitals are facing lot of shortages in combating this deadly virus.
Many villages in Baluchestan are deprived of health centers that follow health protocols and people have to travel long distances in order to access the very few hospitals in the cities. On the other hand there are many Corona patients and hospitals do not have the medicine or the proper medical devices such as ventilators. Low number of ambulances that are not standardized and need reparation in the middle of the road has aggravated the situation and more people of this region fall victim to this conditions.
Many stories have been told by the people who try to survive this disease while dealing with the most difficult shortcomings and limitations. I will tell you one of these stories that is promising.
Parinaz was in her last month of pregnancy. And in order to protect herself from the Corona virus she had stayed home and would not even socialize with her acquaintances. Parinaz followed the protocols. She lived in the same building as her mother-in-law. She was worried that during Corona period which is sweeping Baluchistan she would catch the virus.
The gynecologist had told her to be extra careful because pregnant women are more vulnerable and the virus may result in the death of the mother and the child. It has been a while since Parinz had seen her mother and other elderly people in the family and she missed them, however she was determined to prioritize her health and the health of her unborn child.
In the midst of the outbreak many of her family members caught the Delta variant of the virus including her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law and they spent the first couple of days suffering with the signs and symptoms of this virus.
Even though the patients were quarantined and separated from the rest of the family, but Parinaz caught the virus and spent the first couple of days suffering from high fever and extreme weakness. When Parinaz’s mother found out her daughter was sick she became worried and distressed. She was living in another province and couple of days earlier her neighbor who was a young pregnant woman lost her life along with her new born.
Within a week she had lost five neighbours due to the Delta variant. As if Baluchistan smelled of death and mourning in absolute loneliness and unbearable despair. Parinaz’s mother had decided to reach her daughter as soon as possible but was faced with the rejection of Parinaz and Parinaz’s mother-in-law as they knew this virus spreads like a wildfire.
All that considered, her mother could not keep away and she arrived at her daughter’s. Parinaz was under the supervision of a gynecologist and infectioniologist. Within a week she got sick and could not breath properly and lacked oxygen and although the opinion of medical experts was not unanimous she was sent to Zahedan with the insistence of the gynecologist.
Parinaz’s mother and aunt were in the ambulance with her while her husband, uncle and brother-in-law followed them in their own car. The ambulance was very old and was driving in a high speed. Parinaz’s mother and aunt were sitting on the seats but felt that they were suspended in the air due to the high speed and the unsuitable roads and were coming up and down in the car as if on a seesaw.
They were worried that the bed on which Pari Naz was lying may be thrown away out of the moving ambulance. They were more worried about their patient than their own well being. Less than two hours into the road the ambulance stopped due to a technical problem. The nurse checked the oxygen and Parinaz’ s mother and aunt remembered a Baluch man who lost his life while on the road to Zahedan as his oxygen tank ran out and the ambulance had to stop due to technical problems.
As living in the depths of neglect has become normal for Baluch people, they are to work and to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones by themselves. Parinaz’s uncle and sister-in-law, who were there with their car went to a nearby repair shop and brought the mechanic there to repair the ambulance.
The summer heat in Baluchistan is unbearable and the the temperature of forty degrees in the deserts of Baluchistan exhausts any healthy person let alone a patient who is struggling between life and death.
Parinaz’s mother and aunt were fanning out Parinaz with their embroidered sleeves while they themselves were soaking in sweat, as if they have showered in the hot water. Breathing this hot summer air was not easy. An hour later the mechanic managed to start the car and they resumed their journey. Parinaz’s mother was thinking what would have happen to her sweet daughter if her brother and son-in-law were not accompanying them in this journey. Even thinking about it was disturbing.
After a long journey the ambulance finally arrived at the hospital and she was transferred to the corona patients ward. Parinaz felt she was in another world and only occasionally heard her mother and aunt asking her how she was. After a few days the medical staff told Parinaz’s aunt that her blood oxygen level was back to normal and that she only needed oxygen in the case of an emergency, and that her high fever was coming down as well. Parinaz who was very weak from the last few nights due to extreme stress and use of oxygen mask, was more worried about her baby and had a lot of fear in her heart.
The gynecologist determined that her baby should be born as soon as possible otherwise the lives of both mother and the baby would be in danger. Thanks to the consolidation of her mother, aunt and the specialist, she decided to stay strong for the sake of her baby and to do her best to help herself and her baby emerge victorious from this battle.
After a lot of effort and the help of the medical staff, Parinaz gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with a strong spirit. Due to the weakness caused by the Covid virus and heroic efforts to give birth to her daughter she was no longer able to stay conscious and passed out. A few hours later when she opened her eyes she saw her aunt and asked for her child. Her aunt explained the baby was sent home along with Parinaz’s mother as they were in the Covid patients ward and it is not suitable for a new born. A day later Parinaz was released from the hospital as well.
Parinaz was happy to have given birth to a healthy daughter and to have survived Corona herself. She fell asleep again from exhaustion and when she woke up she found that her dear aunt, who had been caring for her all along, also had corona virus and was lying in bed with a high fever.
The next day her aunt was also treated by a doctor, but they decided to quarantine and treat her at home and both of them were released from the hospital. Parinaz was finally able to hold her daughter in her arms and smell her with all her being.She thought that the name they chose for their daughter should be the symbol for both of them striving for life and after consulting with her husband they decided to name her Golhezar.
Golhezar is a clear example of mother daughter love and hope for life in the dark period of Corona in Baluchistan. It is a symbol for Baluch people who in any difficult situation can open the window of hope in the face of problems and continue living and aiming for a brighter future. And prepare themselves for a better life for the next generations