The Anand district administration has roped in 1,600 young volunteers to help them guide, assist and sensitise senior citizens and people with co-morbid conditions amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in view of this group being more vulnerable to the Sars-CoV-2 virus which causes the COVID19 infection. A three-day training programme for the same commenced on Tuesday, officials said.
For every village in Anand district and nagarpalika wards, a team of five volunteers has been constituted for the purpose. The volunteers are expected to cater to a total population of over 2,80,000 persons in the district, who fall in the age group of 60 years and above. So far, Anand has reported 65 positive cases of which 11 patients are 60 years and above.
The district has also reported three deaths. “We have noticed that higher age groups and people with co-morbid conditions are highly vulnerable to the virus. Even the mortality rate is higher for this age group…it’s important to reach out to them specifically. At present, we do have one ASHA worker and one anaganwadi worker per 1,000 population, but we needed more workforce for the population we want to target. We decided to rope in young volunteers who are enthusiastic and efficient,” said Ashish Kumar, District Development Officer, Anand.
The youth volunteers from around 810 yuva mandals have registered themselves as ‘Corona Yodhas’ under the Swami Vivekanand Gujarat Rajya Yuva Board, constituted under the Department of Sport, Youth and Cultural Activities, under the Government of Gujarat. The training programme being conducted via video conferencing by the Epidemic Medical Officer encompasses awareness to be imparted to senior citizens, as well as personal safety to be ensured by the volunteers during the process.
“The youth brigade are non-clinical persons. It is important that they are trained regarding COVID-19. It is also important for the vulnerable group to maintain social distance even at their homes and take extra care if they are already suffering from any illness. The volunteers will reach out to them explaining the same and the basics of hand washing and breathing exercises,” said in-charge Epidemic Medical Officer, Dr Siraj Vohra.
After reaching out to all of them, each volunteer group will follow up with the elderly citizens from their respective jurisdictions for the next one month, regarding their health and other needs.
“Our volunteers will also check the health conditions of the elderly persons and if they find any symptoms, they will immediately inform the health department. This exercise will continue for at least two months. We plan to finish our door-to-door awareness programme within a week. Next week onwards, we will follow up with every person twice or thrice a week and keep updating our database,” said Chirag Raval, Anand district coordinator of the Yuvak Mandal.
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