Community Participation Propelled Ganjam’s Hinjili Block to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic

Berhampur: At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has spread its tentacles all over the world, and the countries, both rich and poor, are in the war against the pandemic and doing their best to win the war, the experts have stressed on the community level approach to combat the deadly virus. It is in this context that the community-centric approach implemented in Odisha under the guidance of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has come as a testimony for others to emulate.

A truly mass leader, Naveen Patnaik, known globally for his exceptional qualities in handling of natural disasters, has set yet another example on how community participation can play a decisive role in fighting the current pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic, the Odisha Chief Minister stood tall in the world when he devolved the essential powers to the Panchayats with greater focus on community involvement in the fight against COVID-19.

Almost six months down the lane, the Chief Minister’s community participation model has been highly successful in breaking the chain of corona infection. The glaring example of this is Ganjam district, wherein the Hinjilicut block has emerged as the role model for rest of the State.

The active involvement of Sarpanches, local elected representatives, ASHAs and anganwadi workers, and women self-help groups have played a pivotal role in managing the COVID-19 crisis effectively in Hinjilicut block.

From managing temporary medical camps to enforcing containment and lockdown measures to contact tracing to creating mass awareness to helping vulnerable and destitute people, community participation has been crucial in preventing the spread of coronavirus in the block.

The number of Red Zone villages have come down to 10 from 56 and 14 GPs out of 21 in the block are now free from coronavirus. The active cases in Hinjilicut block stands at 27 as on September 6. As many as 412 patients have recovered from the disease so far, according to the data provided by the Ganjam district administration.

It has been possible due to the successful implementation of 3T strategy (testing, tracing and treatment) and strict enforcement of lockdown and social distancing measures through community monitoring, informed Chatrapur Sub Collector Priya Ranjan Prusty.

As instructed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the COVID-19 testing facilities have been scaled up on war footing throughout Ganjam district including Hinjilicut block, which comes under the Chatrapur Sub-Division.

There has been almost 10 times increase in testing in the Hinjilicut block between July 23 to September 6. While the total number of COVID-19 tests stood at 1169 by July 23, the number has grown up exponentially to 12934 by September 6. During the same period, the testing numbers increased from 11260 to 101021 in the sub-division. The number crossed more than three lakh in the district.

Initially, the people were reluctant to come forward for testing. However, the massive awareness drive by community participation through IEC activity, deployment of more lab technicians and swab collection camps at village level have mobilized the people to come forward for testing, said the BDO of Hinjilicut Block Prasana Patro.

The large scale testing with utmost priority on comorbid and symptomatic cases have proved effective in combating the chain of COVID transmission, he added.

Holding similar views, Ganjam PD DRDA Siddharth Shankar Swain said that Hinjili has managed to turn the tide with the tried and tested mechanism of test, isolate, treat.

With increased testing especially in Red Zone areas and strict measures even in awareness and enforcement, the positivity rate has come down to 5.74% and the number of active cases are now minimal, he said.

Because of strict enforcement of social distancing norms, multiple intensive D2D health screening, strict containment policy, active involvement of community with Covid monitor and care committees, wide testing and proper treatment, the COVID-19 situation is under control in the entire district, says Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange.

The Chief Minister’s historic move of giving powers of District Collectors to Sarpanches has been quite instrumental in the fight against coronavirus as it enabled greater community participation, said Sangita Sahu, a Sarpanch of Sasana Ambagaon GP.

Swarajya Swain of Kharida Village in Hinjili Block, who has recovered from COVID-19, has expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and holds view that focus on community management of the pandemic has worked wonders. The grassroots level fight has been successful and we hope the pandemic will never return back.

For Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, fighting Coronavirus means fighting for the betterment of the four and half crore family members. Taking all along, Naveen has proved that, if you have the confidence of the people, and they believe you, nothing is impossible.

Naveen is with people always. That trust by the people make things happen. No matter how prolonged the battle is and how hard the path to overcome the hurdle is!

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