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Karnataka goes door to door to track high-risk homes

A survey is being conducted by the Karnataka government as part of its Covid containment plan to compile a health register of citizens with specific focus on identifying those above 60 who have underlying health problems.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 31, 2020 8:35:48 am
Karnataka coronavirus cases, coronavirus cases Karnataka, Karnataka COVID, COVID containment zones Karnataka, India news, Indian Express Passengers at Kempegowda Airport in Bengaluru after arriving in a special A-I flight from Frankfurt, on Saturday. (PTI)

AN estimated 44 per cent of households across Karnataka have been classified in the “risk category” for Covid because they have either senior citizens and/or pregnant, lactating women.

This is the result of a survey being conducted by the Karnataka government as part of its Covid containment plan to compile a health register of citizens with specific focus on identifying those above 60 who have underlying health problems.

There are an estimated 1.68 crore households in the state and the survey has, since May 5, covered 72 percent of the households.

It has counted 51.53 lakh households with senior citizens and 4.38 lakh households with pregnant, lactating women.

Of households with seniors, around three per cent were found as those with “elderly persons suffering from high BP/diabetes/cardiac problem.”

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Officials underlined that this door-to-door survey is cursory but exhaustive. “A door-to-door survey of the entire population of Karnataka was done through teachers, government staff and booth level officers, totalling about 60,000 officials. The data is being entered into the state’s health watch mobile app and web application,” said Munish Moudgil, the IAS officer in charge of the state Covid 19 war room.

The survey will help local health workers track and support vulnerable households, the official said.

“Basic questions were asked rather than interpretational ones. Is there a pregnant or lactating woman in the household? Number of persons above 60 years of age? Number of persons above 60 having BP or diabetes or heart problem? Number of persons with breathlessness, fever or cough and cold. Yes to anyone of the questions makes the household vulnerable,” Moudgil said.

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“This survey is at the household level and no details of individuals other than the head of a household are collected,” according to state health commissioner Pankaj Pandey.

“Covid has demonstrated that comprehensive public health data is the key to act decisively and swiftly. Our government is planning to maintain a Health Registry of Citizens,” Karnataka medical education minister Dr K Sudhakar said on social media.

A household heath risk assessment app has been developed by the Karnataka Covid war room which identifies vulnerable households in an election booth area in order to facilitate intervention by health workers in the event of a disease outbreak.

According to the surveillance policy, health workers will check on high risk-households on a daily basis in Covid containment zones, twice a week in buffer zones and in other areas on the basis of assessment of situations by health officials.

Tracking of cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection and Influenza Like Illnesses showing up at clinics, tracking of persons buying medicines for fever, cough and cold at pharmacies, tracking foreign, domestic travellers and watching primary and secondary contacts of persons who test positive for Covid are among other surveillance measures in Karnataka.

The state has seen a spike in Covid cases following the return of migrants. Since May 23, a total of 1179 Covid positive cases have been recorded in the state with 70 percent of the cases involving returnees from Maharashtra and Mumbai in particular to various districts in the state.

On Saturday, 141 cases were recorded after an all-time high of 248 cases Friday. On an average, 147 cases have been recorded each day over the last eight days compared to around 50 witnessed until the second week of May. There have been 49 Covid deaths in the state with 28 involving persons above the age of 60 with underlying health conditions.

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