New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday appreciated Odisha for its anti-COVID measures, saying active use of IT, empowering local sarpanches, and building skilled healthcare force through community participation have led to reduced disease burden with low mortality rates.
Some of the key initiatives include support to co-morbid and senior citizens via Sachetak app. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has developed the mobile app Sachetak to keep co-morbid and elderly citizens of the city under high scrutiny. One family member is registered as a caregiver. For elderly people staying alone, one volunteer from the ward level Sachetak committee is identified as a caregiver. They are oriented in ways to ring-fence the vulnerable people.
Through this app, citizens can explore resources on COVID-19 protection, consult doctors, view updates on COVID-19 quarantine, positive cases etc, the ministry said. The data from the app helps civic bodies plan for targeted healthcare camps, it added.
The state authorities also initiated empowerment of sarpanches for effective monitoring. The state government has delegated powers of district collectors to sarpanches of gram panchayats for their jurisdiction under Section 51 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 read with Odisha COVID-19 Regulations, 2020. This is helping inefficient monitoring of the 14-day quarantine regulations, especially of the returning migrants, the ministry said.
Besides, a free-of-charge telemedicine helpline service (14410) has been made operational in addition to the 104-helpline. Equipped with an interactive voice response (IVR) system-based module, this provides medical advice and informs people on various COVID-19 related resources with the help of over 300 qualified medical professionals. This has helped to reduce fear and apprehension among the population.
The state government also has focused on capacity augmentation of medical personnel and has trained 1.72 lakh health personnel to provide healthcare services to COVID-patients. As an innovative step, the Ganjam district administration is training thousands of migrants in quarantine centres as community health workers in areas such as sanitation measures. This practice is being replicated in other districts too.