In the past week, AID has brought you a wide range of stories from all over India. To respond to the COVID second wave crisis in India we first turned to our deep rooted community partners all across the country. We had several conversations with them to find out the immediate needs as well as longer term requirements, and collaboratively arrived at our response plan. This is a round up of all the activities that we covered over the past week. We have only presented a small part of the total work being done: several other partner updates will be featured in the coming days.
We began in the streets and markets of Sundarban, West Bengal, where Chetana Sangha is spreading awareness about COVID protocols. The same message was emphasized in the neighbouring district of Purba Medinipur, by Kisan Swaraj Samity. As West Bengal suffered the consequences of an extended election, our partner Swanirvar stepped into the frontlines of COVID relief.
In Tamil Nadu, AID-India began its program to combat a surge in cases in rural areas. We also heard from the Tribal health initiative (THI) which caters to the health needs and livelihood support of tribal communities in Sittilingi valley and Kalrayan hills of Dharmapuri.
Some of our partners have specific expertise in public health issues, and we will be highlighting their work as we proceed. Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives, i.e. SATHI, our long standing partners in Maharashtra have set up helpdesks to guide people through the economic aspects of accessing health care, as well as patient rights. In Gujarat, Janpath is working with the government to enhance the capacity of the Community Health Center in Mankadi village into a 20 bed COVID center which will serve about 60 villages and a population of 25,000 people. SOCHARA, based in Karnataka, is setting up a call center to help people obtain easier access to doctors.
Although there are some uplifting stories, we have also received traumatic reports. In Jharkhand, the Savera foundation has been working with Adivasi communities in Koderma and Giridih districts, where almost every family has seen COVID cases. We heard similar stories from Mozda in Gujarat and other districts of Maharashtra. In Uttar Pradesh, a harrowing report from Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan shows the scarcity of healthcare – there is a single district hospital in Sitapur with no oxygen.
To understand solutions that can actually work in the most underserved parts of the country, we have been collaborating with several public health experts. AID has held discussions with public health leaders such as Dr Phadke from the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement) on the efficacy of vaccines. We did another call with our grassroots partners to educate them on the spread of the virus and preventive measures. In the coming weeks, it will be important to further understand how impending lockdowns will affect livelihoods and food security. We will also focus on people’s attitudes towards vaccinations in rural India and on spreading easy-to-use awareness material.
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