21-year-old sarpanch keeps his Solapur village Covid free
It was a difficult task for Ruturaj Deshmukh and his team to overcome the recent increasing number of Covid cases in their village, but through their tireless efforts, Ghatane village is now Covid free. 21-year-old Deshmukh is sarpanch of Ghatane village in Mohol taluka, Solapur.
“Since the Covid pandemic started last year, there was not a single case in our village. This year, in March, the first case of Covid was found in our village and suddenly the entire picture changed,” Deshmukh said.
The village of 5,000 residents had 100 confirmed Covid cases in April. “People started fearing going out and most of them shifted to other villages. We decided to run a drive called, “Be positive and keep our village Covid negative”, to which we got a good response from villagers,” said Deshmukh .
Deshmukh completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) last year. “The five major things which we did to reduce Covid cases in the village were rapid antigen tests of all coming to the village from cities engaged in various types of trade. We encouraged people above the age of 45 to get vaccinated. Our Grampanchayat workers and volunteers went to each house to check oxygen levels and body temperature. Each family was given a Covid safety kit with a sanitiser, face masks, vitamin capsules and soaps. Also people coming from outside were strictly told to be in quarantine for at least three day. Our village became Covid free within a month,” says Deshmukh .
Appreciating the work of Deshmukh as a young sarpanch, villager Devika Parvati Mali said, “As the cases were increasing in the village, Ruturaj and other members of the Grampanchayat really took efforts to stop the spread of infection. This pattern is appreciated and other villages can also learn from it.”
Villager Mangal Deshmukh said, “There was a mental support for our family, when volunteers and the sarpanch would come to our house and do checking. Earlier, we used to feel unsafe as Covid cases were increasing, but now as our village is Covid free, it is a safer place to live.”