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Explained: How Haryana aims to screen every resident in its 6,700 villages for Covid symptoms

Apprehending that the transmission rate of Covid-19 infections was increasing in rural areas, the state government is all set to screen each household in over 6,700 villages of the state. How will it conduct this massive exercise?

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 14, 2021 7:39:33 am
Explained: How Haryana plans to conduct Covid-19 screening drive in rural areasCovid is spreading fast to rural India (Express Photo/Renuka Puri, File)

The Haryana government has conducted a demographic profile survey of Covid-19 patients admitted in state’s designated Covid-19 hospitals and other private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. It came out that while 62 per cent of the patients were from urban areas, there were 38 per cent who belonged to rural areas across the state.

Apprehending that the transmission rate of Covid-19 infections was increasing in rural areas, the state government is all set to screen each household in over 6,700 villages of the state. So, how does the state plan to carry out this massive exercise? The Indian Express explains.

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What are the findings of the demographic profile survey?

Out of the total 1,26,641 Covid-19 active cases till last week, while 78,881 come from urban areas, 47,760 patients are from rural areas of the state.

What is the scale of this exercise?

There are approximately 6,700 villages in Haryana. Out of the 8,000 teams constituted for the task of screening each and every household in these villages, 7,400 have been deployed on field duty while the rest will be on ‘reserve’. The teams have been assigned specific villages and a maximum of two villages are assigned to each team.

What are these teams and who all are the members?

Two teams, Field Team and Headquarter Team, have been constituted to track the villagers’ health checkup. The field team comprises four members – ASHA worker, Anganwadi worker, school teacher and woman panchayat member or Gram Sachiv of the village or any other member appointed by Block Development Officer.

The Headquarter Team also comprises four members — Health Member (ANM/ LHV/ Pharmacist etc.) as decided by the Chief Medical Officer, a non-health member, a data entry operator with a computer and printer and a health volunteer. A non-health member can be from any government department, including school education, engineering, technical education, higher education, skill development, animal husbandry, panchayat, revenue, agriculture, food supply or horticulture. Because people working in these departments are the ones who remain in regular touch with the villagers for various works.

How will the field teams operate?

Field teams will fill/upload data in ASHA sarvekshan app while the headquarters team will set up a camp office and station itself in the village where screening begins. They will be given thermal scanners and pulse oximeters. The queries asked by the field teams to the villagers, will be simple and related to general health and Covid symptoms.

The field staff will send the people in a staggered manner to the camp where the headquarter team will be stationed. The headquarters team will also be equipped with digital thermometers and pulse oximeters, weighing scale, BP monitoring apparatus, steamer, oxygen concentrator, Rapid Antigen Kit, medicines and Covid-19 related information booklet.

The team will take do a general health checkup of the villagers and a mandatory Rapid Antigen Test. Further necessary action will be taken depending on the findings of the RAT’s result. The details of the villager that will be collected by the teams include – name, father’s/spouse’s name, age, previous medical history, comorbidity (if any), SpO2 levels, BP, weight, temperature, etc.

If a villager tests positive in RAT, a decision to home isolate, isolate in village covid care centre or hospitalisation shall be taken by the headquarters team. If the villager is advised home isolation, they will be given a home isolation kit prepared by the health department. It will contain thermometer, pulse oximeter, Ayush immunity boosting medicines, and other allopathy medicines required in treatment of Covid-19 patients, under home isolation.

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What is the scheme called and how is it being implemented?

It is called Haryana Villagers’ General Health Checkup Scheme (HVGHCS). It will be launched on May 15 across all the districts of Haryana for which guidelines have been sent to deputy commissioners, surgeons and panchayat officers and Additional Chief Secretaries for inter-departmental coordination.

The screening will begin from the villages that are “most-affected” and with a “high case load of active cases” with at least 50 teams per district. The teams will be gradually scaled up subsequently in the following days. The deputy commissioners will be the overall incharge of the programme in their respective districts. The teams will  be monitored by the civil surgeons.

What is the training module and SOPs for training teams?

As many as 11,773 participants have already been trained by SIHFW. A digital application for the programme has been developed by the National Health Mission, which will be used to feed the data by these teams. The teams will be equipped with testing kits, isolation kits and medicines for distribution to villagers depending upon their health conditions at the time of screening.

The Standard Operating Procedures, checkup questionnaires and reporting formats for survey and village teams with guidelines for survey, examination, testing and treatment have been distributed to the teams. District training officers have been trained in modalities of implementation, guidelines of schemes, flow charts for management, protocols, Rapid Antigen Testing and have been instructed to utilise the services of already available trained staff to train more health staff to develop a sustainable programme.

They have also shared videos of procedures of testing SPO2, temperature, COVID-appropriate behaviour, sanitising surfaces, mask disposal, etc. to make sessions more informative and illustrative fornon-health Personnel.

How will the teams coordinate and feed in the data collected?

A nodal officer in every district has been appointed to coordinate on behalf of the health department in each district. The nodal officers will be other than the district surveillance officer or district training officer for sustainability. The space for seating of isolation teams and isolation spaces with at least two separate areas for confirmed positive and suspected positive with beds, toilet facility, safe drinking water and proper ventilation arranged in the selected areas by the development and panchayat department.

Data entry operators are being stationed with teams at village level for entry into digital apps as per ICMR guidelines. The teams will be provided with logistics such as equipment, drugs, isolation kits, masks, sanitisers, etc. in sufficient amounts and vehicular support to RAT teams and medical teams for conducting rounds of villages.

PGT/TGT teachers have also been roped in for filling the reporting formats and management of online reporting forms.

How will villagers be kept in isolation centres/ covid care centres being set up in villages with high caseload?

The BDPO will depute a watchman/safai karamchari to ensure that villagers isolated in these centres do not leave till the isolation period gets over and without the doctor’s permission. Mild and moderate symptom patients will be kept in separate isolation centres in the village and serious patients at nearby city’s designated Covid-hospitals depending upon their medical condition.

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