With the onset of COVID-19 outbreak across the country claiming thousands of lives, the district authorities have buckled up their preparations to fight the pandemic and save lives. Enhancing functions, upscaling healthcare facilities, active monitoring and surveillance, increasing testing, and strict implementation of physical distancing are some of the measures adopted by various districts. To know more about measures taken by Osmanabad authorities, Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN) interviewed Deepa Mudhol-Munde, Collector and District Magistrate, Osmanabad, Maharashtra.
With below 40 active cases of COVID-19, Osmanabad has been able to contain the virus to a great extent. Please elaborate on what are the initiatives you have undertaken in the district.
Osmanabad district belongs to the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Up to date, we had 179 COVID cases, out of 179 cases, 136 had completely recovered and discharged. At present, only 36 cases are active and under supervised treatment. The main strategies that we adopted to tackle the COVID pandemic in our districts focussed a lot on the identification of migratory population, strict implementation in containment zones, special care of co-morbid patients and use of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) in spreading awareness.
Will you please elaborate on these initiatives in brief?
Identification of migratory population and their enumeration in the village level or ward level register, regular health checkups of all migratory population (suspect) for corona and their isolation in the farmhouse, schools, or in the identified institutional quarantine places at least for fourteen days helped us in mitigation of corona spread.
If we talk about data till June 22, 1,19,018 migratory population have been identified, screened for COVID, and isolated for fourteen days. Out of a total of 179 COVID positive patients, 175 which is 97.76 percent, were from the migratory population. I must tell you that the isolation strategy of the high-risk migratory population made us successful in controlling the community spread to a great extent.
Further, we followed a strict implementation of Containment Zone SOPs. A total of 62 such zones were marked in Osmanabad. Out of the 62 zones, at present 26 are active. A total of 231 teams of health workers deployed in these zones for a survey for 14 days and 54,063 persons from the containment zones were enquired for COVID symptoms and screened for any signs of COVID by tracking their level of contact with COVID positive index case. Surprisingly, we had only 60 index cases and the remaining 119 were identified by expert teams of zones by tracking the close contacts of the index case. So, thus no spread of Corona observed beyond the containment zone and not even from the index case also.
How have you been able to take care of patients who are at higher risk?
We focussed a lot on the co-morbid patients who suffered from other diseases. As we know, co-morbidity is a hazard for the COVID patients. We all know that mortality rate among co-morbid patients is high as compared with normal patients. In Osmanabad, special efforts have been made to improve the immunity of 1100 tuberculosis patients by providing them multivitamin tablets, protein powder along with a hygiene kit of sanitizer and masks. In the same way leprosy, patients also supported with food kits, HIV/AIDS patients by providing them doorstep medicine supply along with food kits. No patient from this group was found positive. Thus the protection of co-morbid by training, counselling, and support helped us to keep them safe.