The COVID-19 pandemic is no longer an urban phenomenon. The infection is now impacting India’s rural population and has also started claiming lives, much like what we see in our cities and metropolis. With thousands of migrant daily wage workers moving back to their villages as the state governments are clamping “Janata curfew” (partial lockdowns), the risk is increasing every day. The second wave of COVID-19 has caught us like a tsunami and unfolded into a human tragedy beyond any comprehension.One of the biggest challenges in remote rural areas, apart from inadequate healthcare facilities at the primary, block and district levels, with some of the poorer states even lacking modern healthcare at the State capitals, is the lack of awareness amongst the rural community about the pandemic and the measures that are essential to keep oneself safe and secure in this situation. Unavailability of testing kits, masks and sanitizers, medicines and dry ration for COVID infected patients from poor families, beds with oxygen supply, ventilatorsand adequate healthcare facilities especially for COVID-19, are the other lacunae that make the challenge look insurmountable at the moment.
PRADAN, present in around 10,000 very remote and backward villages of 33 poorest districts in seven states of India (Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan), touches almost 4.5 million lives every day. Through its presence and deep-rooted community relationships it is uniquely placed to support all COVID-19 related interventions, besides feedback to the administration on the situation and needs of the community on the ground.
Last year in 2020, the world was unprepared and also here in India, we were all suddenly exposed to the pandemic and stringent country wide lockdowns. PRADAN professionals with the support of its 60,000+ women Self -Help- Groups (SHGs) and other community collectives, community cadres volunteered to work closely with the local level government to mount some response to the unfolding crisis. PRADAN mounted significant efforts to support our communities through various initiatives, with the generous and kind support of our donors and individuals from all walks of like through the #JeetengeHum campaign.
Last year we worked on the following issues and the scale was:
- Awareness generation across 16,000+ hamlets about the pandemic and necessary safety measure
- Surveillance of Returnee migrants through our wide network of Community Cadres and Volunteers
- Running 334 Community kitchens during the lockdown period
- Setting up and running 175 Quarantine centres with the support of the PRIs and local administration
- Distribution of Dry ration kits to nearly 1.05 lakh most vulnerable households
- Distribution of 1.36 lakh safety kits to Frontline functionaries
For the 2nd wave in Year 2021, we have pro-actively adopted an eleven-pronged strategy to support the administration to tackle the dire situation on the ground, more impactfully and ensure safety for our communities.
- • Key information messaging on vaccination and safety precautions through micing – the Mobile Vans also serving the purpose of conducting RAT tests- for the next 2 months
- • Pulse Oximeter
- • Rapid Test kits (RAT)
- • Medical kits for Frontline workers like Sahiya, Community Volunteers (PPE kits, Gloves, sanitiser, Face shields, N95 masks, etc.)
- • Provision of Masks for Community
- • Provision of Medical kits for the COVID patients who are in-home quarantine
- • Dry ration packets for COVID infected patients
- • Make-shift Quarantine centres for Mild cases- with Oxygen beds (supported by the PHCs & administration)
- • Provision of Medical kits at the Anganwadi/Panchayat level (beds, oximeter, thermal scanner included, consumables, etc.) to run Village level quarantine centres for 2 months
- • Community Help desk manned by Community volunteers at Gram Panchayat level for 3 months- for surveillance, coordination with administration. Also, the COVID warriors moving in the mobile vans for messaging and awareness generation. Also initiate Telemedicine and telephone helplines manned by trained volunteers and doctors to support COVID patients at the State level wherever possible.
- • Insurance for Frontline Workers (Average 50 Community Cadres)
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