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Local Self Governments Continue To Help Mitigate COVID-19 Spread in Kerala

In the first wave last year, volunteers in Kerala mainly worked in community kitchens, but with the rising number of cases this year volunteers have managed to arrange ambulance services, medical kits, food distribution and purchasing groceries and other items that patients in isolation may need

Kerala's local bodies were actively involved in managing the virus from the first wave itself
  • We are working in Covid containment with people participation: ASHA worker
  • First wave had few patients so we focussed on food and ration: ASHA worker
  • We are providing food & medicines since cases have increased: ASHA worker

Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, local self-governments in Kerala have played a vital role in containing the spread of the infectious virus since it broke out last year. Local bodies were actively involved in managing the virus from the first wave itself, with staff and volunteers offering services without any kind of remuneration. In Thiruvananthapuram corporation, each ward called upon 25 volunteers and a Rapid Response team, including the Sectoral Magistrate, health inspector, CI, ward councillor, Asha workers, junior public health nurses, secretary and presidents of residence association and volunteers. In the first wave last year, volunteers mainly worked in community kitchens.

But with the rising number of cases this year across all wards, volunteers have managed to arrange ambulance services, medical kits, food distribution and purchasing groceries and other items that patients in isolation may need. Community kitchens working under corporations and volunteers are collect food items for the distribution of food packets.

Also Read: Vaccinating As Many People As Possible Should Be The Top Priority, Says Ebola Virus’s Co-Discoverer On India’s COVID-19 Crisis

Asha workers, especially, have especially been active on the ground, visiting multiple houses daily.

While speaking to ANI, an Asha worker in the Vazhuthacaud ward, Remya, said that she gives special care to the elderly who lives alone and calls them daily.

I visit several houses daily and tell people how to take care of themselves. I also give special care to elderly people staying alone and call them every day. If they need something, I arrange it through volunteers and the ward councillor, the Asha worker said.

She added,

Local self bodies are working successfully in Covid containment with the help of people participation. Apart from volunteers, many youth organizations of political parties are also involving with Covid containment activities of local self-governments.

Also Read: Booster Effect Even At Six Months, Don’t Worry: Experts On Covishield Dose Gap

Rakhi Ravikumar, councillor of Vazhuthacaud ward has credited the efficient handling of the pandemic to speedy measures by the state and local governments as well as local volunteers.

The state and local government’s speedy measures have played a major role in combatting the spread. The first time, when people were unfamiliar with hand sanitisers and masks, we introduced break-through chain campaigns and we have provided the necessary equipment. We also introduced community kitchens, she said.

Ravikumar added that at the time, they had about 25 community kitchens and all volunteers were involved in packing and delivering foods. This time around, they want to focus on the care for infected patients.

During the first wave, there were very few patients so we focussed on food and ration. Cases have increased this time. 68 patients are down with Covid-19 in my ward. Volunteers are providing food and medicines, and if someone dies, volunteers go with a health inspector for cremation, she said.

While funding for services mainly comes from the local government, residential associations and volunteers also make donations.

We don’t pay them (volunteers) anything. It is all a matter of service. Now we are getting some donations for our Rapid Response Team and are now able to manage petrol expenses, the ward councillor said.

Also Read: Amid Looming Shortfall Of Doses, UNICEF Calls For Global, Equitable Distribution Of COVID-19 Vaccines

The most requested item is food, said Rahul, a volunteer in the ward, especially from older people who live alone. His team also distributes food to people on the streets.

Whenever anyone tests positive, they inform the councillor and we arrange a medical kit and take them to the hospital in an ambulance. If they need medicines, we all arrange for it with the help of Asha workers. People in quarantine mostly ask for food. We always keep extra food packets to give to people sitting on the roadsides, Rahul said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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