India faced the greatest number of daily cases of Covid-19 in April 2021, accounting for nearly half of all cases worldwide. The mutant strain made treatment considerably more difficult and increased severity in a shorter amount of time because of which the second wave of Coronavirus was far more hazardous than the first. The coronavirus outbreak's second wave began in mid-March 2021 and spread swiftly.
This rapid spread of the virus as well as the daily rising death toll had posed additional challenges to the country's ill-equipped healthcare system. Covid is often not diagnosed because of lack of testing or results which are not accessible in time or because of it being passed off as a result of comorbidity, thus resulting in mortality. As a result, the true number of afflicted people is unknown.
According to the Hindustan times report, Haryana has 1 doctor per 1700 population. The first case of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Indian state of Haryana was reported on 4th March 2020. According to the data on the Government of India’s website https://www.mygov.in, the total number of cases registered in the state of Haryana are 7,70,949; out of which 7,60,801 were cured and 9,875 cases were registered as dead.
The emergence of the second wave of covid-19, followed by the announcement of lockdown had put the marginalized population in a state of shock. Fear and the spread of fake news had put them at risk of not just covid infection, but also financial hardship. Many people lost their jobs unexpectedly, and none of them had enough food stored at home.
In response to this crisis, our team began its outreach and assisting those in need. The team motivated villagers to trust themselves and each other to become strong and aware.
The plight of PARO women is significantly worse than that of other women. They get paid 30-40 rupees --not on a regular basis-- but every 10-12 days. Nobody was ready to aid them. So, the team met with some known local persons and narrated the whole story and they helped them in Daily Ration and ensured aid for times ahead and helping them in other ways too.
There has long been a phobia of Coronavirus and its symptoms, and even more so of hospitals, among the rural masses. There is a popular belief that once a patient has been diagnosed with Covid, he/she will never return home after being treated at a hospital. People above the age of 45 were more concerned about infection.
This myth made the masses ignore the indications of a severe fever, which were misinterpreted as symptoms caused by rising summer temperatures in the atmosphere.
Even in remote areas, where private physicians' consultations are quite large and doctors are rare, some people tried home treatments but never went to the doctor. As a result, the only option was to stay at home untreated and unseen by a doctor.
Many individuals died because of being deprived of oxygen at home and in clinics. The state hospitals, public health clinics, community health centers, and Covid patients were all severely impacted. Even if some patients believed the tests were completed swiftly because they trusted the medical system, the patients claimed that a large number of infected people at the village or block level were insufficiently tested.
Source: Empower People Survey conducted in June 2021
Poor people who worked in hotels (Dhaba), motels, or stores became entirely unemployed during the pandemic. Daily wage labourers and their family were suffering from starvation because of the abrupt lockdown. Most of the labourers who had been employed in town returned to their hometown. The village population increased, and Covid-19 spread more. Poor people with small houses were especially affected miserably. Due to rumours, people were even afraid of going to hospitals so they were seeking help from local clinics and doctors. People even built barricades at the village's entrance so that no one could easily enter.
Villages that have been barricaded in Haryana.
Since a large number of people were remigrating to their native homes, there was a tussle between returnees and the locals for entrance in the village.
Intervention: Establishing of Community Isolation Centers
Keeping the alarming situation in mind the Team decided to intervene in the matter and convinced local people to help in establishing isolation centers near the villages. The organization promised to provide all basic necessary equipment for the isolation centres and many villages agreed to have them established after initial hesitation.
The isolation centres later became a sign of solidarity among the villagers. Returnees who were prohibited from entrance finally got a shelter to stay near their homes and have an opportunity to stay connected with the family. The families of returnees provided food while organization with the help of IMD India provided medicines, beds etc. as listed ahead.
EP team members convinced & trained villagers for following cleaning measures, taking due precautions against Covid-19 and undergoing self-isolation (if necessary). At first people hesitated to come for such meetings and weren’t interested but now they show up on a regular basis and are more aware and cautious about their health and Covid-19. That is a significant difference between then and now.
we established 18 Isolation Centers cum Community Health Resource centers in Assam and Haryana:
Bagpat, Yamunanagar (Dist.) Haryana
Amin, Kurukchhetra (Dist.) Haryana
Hathira, Kurukshetra (Dist.) Haryana
Kunwarkhedi, Kurukchhetra(dist.) Haryana
Bhukhapuri, karnal (Dist.) Haryana
Sandhir, Karnal (Dist.) Haryana
Chapar, Dhubri (Dist.) Assam
Jamba, Karnal(Dist.) Haryana
Krishnakali, Dhubri (Dist.) Assam
Chobari, Dhubri (Dist.) Assam
During these unprecedented crises, the team is continuing to serve those in need. The team of team interacted with the marginalized communities and assisted them by providing them with basic necessities and explaining to them the basic symptoms of covid-19 and how they can help themselves. For the same purpose, our team also distributed leaflets throughout the local community.
Strategies employed to prevent Covid-19:
The team members used a variety of strategies to raise awareness and motivate the rural population to participate in testing.
● Local residents were trained and equipped to use a temperature gun and a pulse oximeter to measure and interpret body temperature, oxygen saturation level, and heart rate. The normal saturation level of oxygen is 97–100%. The saturation of oxygen in older adults is usually lower than in younger adults. For instance, people older than 70 can experience an acceptable level of oxygen saturation of around 95 percent.
● To keep an eye out for and identify early signs of Covid-19 in individuals the organization ensured that individuals take physical (social) distancing seriously, avoiding gatherings in large groups, covering the mouth and nose during cold or cough and keeping rooms well ventilated etc.
● Outbreak management strategies included screening, containment, and mitigation. Screening of the body's high temperature associated with coronavirus fever to be conducted using a thermometer.
● Some volunteers, rather than limiting their use of the kit to their own village, assisted a neighbouring or needy village by sharing their kit for a period of time, and this is how a greater number of patients with Covid symptoms were identified and referred for early treatment.
● The volunteers pasted posters with their name and contact information at panchayat building, chaurahas, PDS shops, and other locations so that people could learn about the availability of assistance.
● A few volunteers went door to door, and others went to those who displayed symptoms. The volunteers treated people with minor symptoms right away.
Medical kits for Covid Care:
Medical kits were prepared and distributed to community health resource centres. The list of materials required for centres included a one-time supply of basic equipment (such as bedsheets, thermometers, electric water kettles, vaporizers, oximeters, etc.). 10 centres have a regular supply of medical kits of these resources.
The early detection and prevention kit used includes the following items:
A pulse oximeter
A temperature probe
A vaporizer machine that uses steam
A box of balloons (The oxygen saturation of those who did not have oximeters was monitored by a packet of balloons, which we blow at a time to learn the proportion of oxygen level in the body)
A bottle of paracetamol tablets
An antibacterial hand sanitizer
A set of gloves
A bag to carry all of the items listed above.
The team provided temperature guns and pulse oximeters to check for the main symptom of covid 19 diseases, which is fever and oxygen level below 95, as well as an increase in pulse rate. The presence of these in any individual will assist in sending them to the nearest primary health centre to be tested for COVID-19 and to begin treatment if positive.
Training provided to care for the covid patients:
Medical professionals use virtual mediums to train community leaders and volunteers to take vital signs and use temperature guns, pulse oximeters, and steam machines. It included learning the basics of these tools, such as how to put batteries in them, turn them on and off, maintain them, use them, and read the measurements they display. They were keeping an eye on them while engaging with them and checking their vital signs. A total of 50 Para Medical volunteers were trained to spearhead local projects.
After establishing the center, the team began distribution of early detection health kits that included a thermometer gun, an oximeter, a few medicines, sanitizer, hand gloves, and poly bags to the daily wage workers and people of weaker section. These things can be used to check body temperature, pulses, and oxygen levels in the asymptomatic rural population while providing proper precautions to volunteers.
Our team also visited peoples in their houses for check-ups and we distributed medicine and masks. This was a good help for the people who were not going outside. After visiting their house, they became more aware and grew more comfortable and cooperative towards the measures being taken by the team.
Our team members distributed ration kits among needy peoples in villages and on the roadside. More than 2000 ration kits were distributed.
Significance of Isolation Centers cum Community Health Resource Centres:
Given how the pandemic destroyed the social and familial fabric, and how people were left alone during their most difficult time, the organisation established community isolation centres with active collaboration from local government, as well as mobilising volunteers and other socially spirited people to set up a community resource centre in their immediate neighbourhood and form a committee to manage the centre.
The team assisted the local villagers in preparing a plan for transferring a covid patient in the absence of an ambulance to a hospital and how a solitary person can obtain food in villages where 10-15 people live in small tenements. These centres provided assistance in restricting the spread of Coronavirus and ensuring a smooth recovery, as well as the necessary hospitalization steps in event of a serious condition.
Most community isolation centers (Resource centres) were divided into two parts- a women’s ward and a men’s ward, where local people can stay following their traditional customs.
These Centers have served the community well during the last two months from providing space for isolation to supplying food and necessary medicines. The centre also inspired many other communities to form such centers. We are converting these centres into community health resource centers so people can have basic resources to help their immediate neighborhood. The organization aimed to increase the number of centres to meet future challenges which were being predicted by health experts and WHO. It helped the organization in building confidence to fight the pandemic in more and more villages.