NEW DELHI: Experts emphasise on the need to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus using strategic and pragmatic approaches in villages as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and towns, which are reporting increased Covid-19 infections and deaths during the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
Scanty medical infrastructure and poor public awareness have been mainly attributed to the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the country’s villages.
Health experts have stressed that government’s covid management units has to reach rural India using a pragmatic and strategic approach.
While a peak in Covid-19 cases was initially being reported from metro cities of India, it is now spreading at an alarming pac across villages and towns.
Poor awareness as well as a hesitancy to submit to testing and treatment make the thickly populated rural belts of India more susceptible to Covid-19, point out experts. To add to it, they say, the return of migrant workers from cities to their villages propelled the contagion.
Dr Sheeba Marwah, Assistant Professor and Covid-19 Nodal Officer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital said: “This grave problem is further compounded by fact of limited medical infrastructure available in rural areas, including testing services; consequently underreporting of cases has increased. Also referal of serious patients to tertiary centres for better management is overwhelming the health system further.”
In order to prevent the rural areas being swept off by this wave, urgent stringent measures have to be taken adopting a four-pronged strategy of case identification, controlling the spread of infection, creating public awareness and providing early treatment, stated Dr Marwah.
Another perspective suggests Covid testing centres operating pan India prioritise adult rural poor first rather than the young urban rich population.
Arvind Lal, Executive Chairman, Dr Lal PathLabs said, “In rural India testing needs to be ramped up vividly. There are enough government labs doing RTPCR testing who can roped in and they can do it. I also feel that we should not get very quick into testing of the 18 to 44 age group. It will have an impact in urban areas where rich young urban population will have the vaccine as compared to the rural 45+ poor. Here the government of India can reconsider it’s policy.”
Villages are a close knit community and if one person gets infected, the whole village is likely to get infected, particularly in light of infection rate of the current virus.
Dr. NK Arora, Chair of the Covid-19 working group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said: “Treatment has to be very practical and pragmatic which can be applied on ground, we cannot complicate it. We also need to identify danger signs and symptoms so that they can go to PSC or CSC for higher level care. There is a rapid expansion of oxygen facility and efforts are being made so that all these PCSs and CSCs have oxygen because most the patients who require support is oxygen dependent. In a way system is getting geared up as there will be enough vaccines after July.”
Villages in the country, which are highly populated are reporting deaths and infections, sometimes with horrifying images of dead bodies emerging in media, which is capturing the fear and doubts of the people.
Recently a visual from the eastern state of Bihar was captured showing as many as 70 bloated bodies drifting in the Ganges.
As per the official figures India reported 2,22,315 new covid cases, 3,02,544 discharges and 4,454 deaths in last 24 hours.