Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA) played a stellar role in the battle against Covid-19 in Odisha which hugely contributed to the reduction in the number of fatalities, Chairman of 5T and Naveen Odisha Mr. V. K. Pandian said on Monday.

            “I visited SOA for the first time at a very difficult time. It was soon after the outbreak of Covid-19. I had come to discuss how the university could collaborate with the state government in battling the disease. After going round the facilities and discussing with doctors, I stepped out of the campus with the confidence that the battle could be won,” Mr. Pandian said while speaking at a ceremony organised at SOA to felicitate eminent Odia novelist Mr. Bibhuti Patnaik.

            The felicitation ceremony was part of the two-day discourse on Odia language, literature and culture organised at the university as part of the ongoing 1st World Odia Language Conference here.

            Mr. Pandian said he spoke to SOA Founder President Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak and doctors about the role Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medicine, could play by joining hands with the government in fighting the pandemic.

            “They promised to help and told me to assure the Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik that all possible efforts would be made to meet the situation. I am happy to inform you that they did much more than what they had promised and worked day and night to save lives,” he said adding patients were eager to be treated at hospitals run by SOA.

            “It was an example of excellent teamwork and as a result the fatality rate in Odisha was much less compared to other states,” Mr. Pandian said while referring to the five stand-alone Covid Hospitals SOA helped establish and operate at different places of the state.

            Mr. Pandian said the Chief Minister had given clear instructions to try and save every life as the government had laid down the blue print for management of the pandemic in the state.

            The Odisha government focused on team work, technology, transparency and adherence to time frame in the battle against the disease. “We even imported kits and other equipment from abroad directly to ensure that the best treatment could be provided to the patients, he said.