In a bid to trace people with coronavirus-like symptoms, Gandhinagar district authorities have mandated that 472 medical stores in the district – including those in Gandhinagar city – seek the details of people buying over the counter (OTC) drugs for five symptoms – breathlessness, fever, flu, diarrhea, throat pain. Such people will then be traced and if needed, tested for Covid-19.
The surveillance system has been named ‘Advanced Covid Syndromic Surveillance System (ACSyS)’.
The initiative was launched on August 1 after a pilot run in Kalol area of Gandhinagar district. Since then, around 3,500 people have been traced and 35 of them have tested positive for Covid-19, as of Friday.
Speaking with The Indian Express, Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya said, “We have been doing house-to-house surveillance to trace people having Covid-19-like symptoms. We had also mandated all private practitioners to intimate district health authorities about any symptomatic patients they examine. However, we still felt that there were some gaps in that people with symptoms like fever, throat pain, breathlessness, flu or diarrhea were buying OTC drugs and remained unchecked.”
“To plug that gap, we got an application developed by the National Informatics Centre and it has been given to 472 drug stores in the district. Drug store administrators are required to fill in data about any person who buys OTC drugs for five symptoms such as breathlessness, fever, flu, diarrhea and throat pain,” said Arya.
“As per the location of the medical store, the data goes to the Primary Healthcare Center in the area. The concerned medical officer gets the person who bought OTC drugs traced. Then if needed, the person is tested for Covid-19,” Arya added.
According to the district collector, the surveillance system has proved helpful in tracing people having coronavirus-like symptoms especially in urban areas.
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