Mansa admn ropes in quacks to contain virus spread in villages
Amid surge in Covid infections, the Mansa district authorities have started roping in quacks to serve as the first line of defence in the battle against the virus.
Quacks are unqualified rural healthcare practitioners who are often consulted by villagers for most ailments.
Mansa, predominantly a rural district, has reported 2,766 infections and 24 deaths since May 1. The district has 3,003 active cases of which, around 2,000 are from the rural belt. The authorities say the trend is alarming but the situation is more serious as villagers are not sharing their health conditions.
Additional deputy commissioner (development) Amarpreet Kaur Sandhu, who is coordinating Covid management at the district level, said villages have seen a spurt in Covid-related deaths in the last 15 days.
“Narinderpur and Nangal are among two villages where several deaths were reported due to suspected Covid infection in the last fortnight. People are reluctant to respond to government medical teams for testing and medication. Since Tuesday, we engaged three quacks of Narinderpur to supply Covid kits to ailing villagers and they have been asked to administer medicines as per the pandemic protocol,” said Sandhu.
Mansa is a hotbed of farmer union activities and people from the rural areas of the district have a significant presence at dharna sites on the Delhi border.
Sandhu said more quacks will be taken on board in other villages to contain the virus. She, however, clarified that untrained workers are not treating Covid patients.
“Scores of people of these two villages are frequently attending dharnas and falling sick. As people are not going for vaccination and testing, we decided to take the assistance of quacks to handle the situation. People in the area traditionally rely upon these unqualified healthcare providers and we have started taking their help to contain infection spread,” said the ADC.
Village panchayats have been roped in to provide thermometers to ailing persons and motivating sick villagers to practice home isolation, besides boosting immunity with simple home remedies. Sick patients are also being provided health supplements through quacks and it is being ensured that these untrained resources do not offer un-prescribed medication to the suspected Covid patients, he said.
“Against an estimated target of 3 lakh population above 45 years in the district, only 54,000 have come forward for vaccination to date. It is a cause of concern that people are frequently attending protests and Covid guidelines are not being followed,” said Mansa civil surgeon Dr Sukhwinder Singh.
He said community leaders should come out to make people understand the gravity of the medical emergency and ask them to follow instructions to break the virus chain.
“Fully occupied hospitals and lack of space at cremation grounds reflect the ground reality of infection spread. But unfortunately, a sizeable section of Mansa population continue to underestimate the major threat of Covid infection,” she added.