As medical officer at Kankaria Urban Health Centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Dr Shaolin Merchant tests and traces Covid-19 patients and, based on the results, quarantines them and their contacts as needed.

“The biggest challenges in this crisis are lack of adequate mass testing, people not following social distancing, and doctors not getting enough PPE,” Dr Merchant said. He was asked to treat those seeking medical attention with just a surgical mask and no gloves. “I had to wear zip lock bags on my hands while dealing with the patients.”

On average, his team sees 275 patients every day.

Dr Merchant received his medical degree from Smolensk State Medical Academy in Russia. He is continuing his education while working, and has done a certificate course in evidence-based diabetes management from the Public Health Foundation of India.

Currently, Dr Shaolin Merchant lives in self-isolation in the upstairs area of the home he shares with his parents in order to keep them safe. He has a brother, Dr Shahir Merchant, who is a surgeon also seeing Covid-19 patients due to a staffing shortage.

Dr Merchant’s advice is that “Social distancing protocols must continue. Although this pandemic might be temporary, the vigilance and precautions must be permanent.”