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Empowering tribal and migrant communities: Story of Dr. Sayyed

by Meghna Prakash

For Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa resident, Dr. Sayyed, service is an intrinsic part of his identity. Since thousands of migrants, predominantly from the South of India, migrate to Gulf nations to work every year, often leaving behind their families unattended, Dr. Sayyed spends his time working and supporting the tribal and migrant communities of Kadapa.

The children left behind often bear the adverse effects of the absence of parents on their health, education, and psyche, according to the doctor. “Many of these children lack proper guidance, and end up in the business of smuggling and pilferage of forest produce”, says Dr. Sayyed. The pandemic has hurt the tribal and migrant community quite harshly, he added. “Although we followed all protocols, the community had to suffer from a shortage of food and other essentials in the first wave,” Dr. Sayyed said.

During the second wave, however, the situation was even grimmer, with death pervading every corner. “People were hesitant to get vaccinated and avoided it, despite so much death. We had to get vaccinated ourselves first and show them that it is for their benefit. We arranged camps in mosques and other places, and got 20,000 people vaccinated”, says Dr. Sayyed.

As an ophthalmologist, Dr. Sayyed holds medical camps in Kadapa and the neighboring area of Koduru to conduct checkups and create awareness within the tribal and marginalised communities in these regions. “Before COVID-19, people here did not really value their health”, he says. The doctor also counsels children and adults alike on the benefits of timely vaccinations and supplements as well as on other healthy habits.