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Palwal is only Haryana district to fully screen population

Strapped without modern health facilities, Palwal managed to become the only district in Haryana to screen all its people in both rural and urban areas for Covid-19, according to district officials
By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON MAY 30, 2021 10:50 PM IST

Strapped without modern health facilities, Palwal managed to become the only district in Haryana to screen all its people in both rural and urban areas for Covid-19, according to district officials.

The district has just over a million people and had reported 10,047 cases and 133 deaths, including three on Sunday. According to covid19india.org data till May 29, the case fatality rate (CFR, number of deaths per 100 cases) of the district was 1.26%, higher than the national average of 1.17% and the state average of 1.07%.

The higher-than-average CFR could be attributed to Palwal, around 54 kilometres from Gurugram, not having large private or public hospitals.

“The district is not equipped with modern ultra-modern facilities. The health infrastructure right now is one government hospital, two sub-divisional level hospitals, three community health centres and nearly 15 private hospitals,” said Palwal deputy commissioner Naresh Narwal. The district had only 350 oxygen beds.

This meant that Palwal had to act early.

The strategy was to contain the spread with a proactive approach of the minimum crowd with maximum utilization of mask and sanitization in April when the second wave hit.

Rural areas were divided into different segments and incident commanders were deputed to have first-hand information. A weekly survey was conducted parallelly through patwaris and village secretaries of villages twice a week—Tuesday and Friday—with details of symptomatic persons under the supervision of concerned sub-divisional magistrates. The youth committees kept tab on all villages on daily basis.

Narwal said a caseload of 50 was enough to place a village under strict lockdown.

“A meeting of all market associations was convened, and all were persuaded to close the market on Sunday to avoid overcrowding and get the area sanitized, this worked well and all three cities Palwal, Hathin, and Hodal agreed to the proposal,” he said.

On Friday, they commenced a door-to-door screening drive.

“We covered 183,166 households with 920 dedicated teams and 3,000 youth committees constituted from various departments and volunteers,” said Narwal. The survey helped in shifting people to hospitals before their condition worsened.

The screening involved deploying rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests and those who tested positive were immediately home isolated. Ayurvedic medicines were distributed and Ayush doctors provided counselling.

Narwal said the supplies were ensured in the village itself and complete barricading with police deployment was ensured. Similarly, five macro-containment zones were declared in urban areas, where the surge was observed. The positivity rate, which was observed as 40% in some villages and urban colonies at the beginning started reducing with the macros containment strategy. “The tele-counselling and telemedicine dedicated four phone lines with 24X 7 service pressed into service with the deployment of MBBS doctors at Civil Hospital. The cases started reducing after May 20,” he said.

The rural health survey (HVGHCS) which started on May 15 with 920 dedicated teams has covered the entire population and the district was the first to be screened across the state.

The district has redressed 15781 people through Arogya Setu App and 150056 people were provided with psychological services through helplines.

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