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Home / India News / In Andhra, village volunteers’ network helps govt monitor Covid-19 pandemic

In Andhra, village volunteers’ network helps govt monitor Covid-19 pandemic

Around 2.5 lakh volunteers have so far screened 1.39 lakh families out of the total registered number of 1.44 families in the state for coronavirus.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2020 17:48 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
A drone sprays disinfectant  in the premises of Government General Hospital in Vijayawada.
A drone sprays disinfectant in the premises of Government General Hospital in Vijayawada. (ANI)

The network of village volunteers introduced by the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh to extend the benefits of various schemes to the beneficiaries at their doorsteps is now coming in handy for monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the state.

According to official statistics, around 2.5 lakh volunteers – village volunteers in rural areas and ward volunteers in the urban areas – have so far screened 1.39 lakh families out of the total registered number of 1.44 families in the state, for coronavirus.

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“Each volunteer has been entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring the health status of 50 families by conducting a door-to-door survey. This survey helped the government identify and track 10,000 people who had returned from various foreign countries after February 10. Of them, 140 had shown symptoms for Covid-19, while the remaining 9,860 were asymptomatic,” an official in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) familiar with the development said.

The volunteers’ network was also helpful in tracking around 1100 people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference at Nizamuddin in New Delhi last month.

“Taking the inputs from the police and also the medical and health department, the volunteers having the database of the people in their respective jurisdictions could quickly track the Delhi returnees and help the authorities quarantine such people,” the official said.

The volunteers are also focusing on tracking even those without a travel history. Anybody who is found to have symptoms of cold and fever are being identified and reported. “This is to ensure that there is no community spread of the disease. They have been entrusted with the task of identifying those people whose details aren’t mentioned in the GOI records and those who intentionally hide their travel history,” he said.

Each volunteer is responsible for 50 households. If there are any symptomatic persons or foreign returnees in these 50 households, the volunteers make an entry in a mobile application given to them. These entries are directly monitored by the district health authorities and primary health care centres.

“Depending on the need of the specific case, health teams are rushed to the spot and appropriate action is taken,” the official said.

Apart from tracking the foreign and Jamaat returnees and keeping them under surveillance during the quarantine period, the volunteers are also playing a major role in spreading awareness about the do’s and don’ts among the families in the villages and urban areas.

There are currently 226 positive cases of coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh. Four people have been discharged after they recovered while one person has died.

Health minister Alla Nani said focus was mostly on urban areas, which reported higher number of positive cases. “Each ward is being e monitored by two teams. The primary team comprising ward volunteers and Asha workers monitors the health status in every household. If there are any suspects, they report to the secondary team which comprises a doctor along with paramedical staff, who take the follow-up action,” the minister said.

During a video conference last week, chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy appreciated the work done by these volunteers, who he said, were risking their lives daily for the wellbeing of the state. He said the volunteers would not only conduct the survey to trace anybody with symptoms irrespective of travel history, but also play an essential part in delivering essentials and services at the grassroots level during the lockdown.

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