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Dr Maniram Rampaul

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Rio Claro physician Dr Maniram Rampaul has died from COVID-19, leaving the entire community in mourning.

Rampaul had worked in the rural community for over 50 years and because of high levels of poverty, he often saw his patients for free.

Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, his grieving wife Vydia Rampaul said Rampaul fell ill last week Wednesday after testing positive with COVID-19.

He was admitted to the Couva Multi-Training facility on Thursday but by Friday he took a turn for the worse.

Vydia said on Sunday while hospitalised, Rampaul called them and spoke to his second granddaughter with whom he had a very close relationship.

His condition did not improve and between 5.30 pm to 6 pm on Monday he passed away.

Describing her husband’s legacy, Vydia said, “He worked in Rio Claro for over 50 years. He would serve his patients selflessly. He was a doctor whose patients would come without money. He had no distinction for rich or poor. He served with love.”

She called on citizens to observe the COVID-19 protocols and the public health regulations as the increase in COVID-19 cases was putting a strain on medical personnel.

“These doctors in these facilities are overworked. My heart goes out to them. They are risking their lives and these people are not heeding the advice. They are not heeding it. It is not fair, it is not right,” Vydia said.

She explained that she did not know how her husband contracted the virus.

“He bought a nano gun and he had all temperatures checked. He would sanitize all patients when they come in. I really cannot say how he got it or where he got it but he always took the relevant precautions,” she added.

Vydia said her husband worked as the District Medical Officer for Mayaro for many years and was also the president of the Shri Satya Sai Baba Organisation of T&T.

Businessman Nasser Khan told Guardian Media that Rampaul deserved a posthumous national award for his contribution to the community of Rio Claro.

Meanwhile, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said T&T had lost a great son of the soil.

Rampaul was a renowned medical practitioner and a pioneering social and community contributor. He contributed extensively in the fields of medicine, as president and spiritual leader of the Rio Claro Sai Centre, and as an overall exemplar,” Paray said.

Lauding Rampaul for his humility and compassion, Paray said Rampaul was decorated with the Humming Bird medal for his contribution to the national society.

“In 2019, I was honoured to pay tribute to him for his outstanding service, with an award on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day. Rampaul was a model citizen, who would be remembered for his selflessness and dedication in the service of his society,” Paray said.