Govt asks States to take preventive steps to curb pandemic spread in rural areas

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 11, 2021

Urges states to utilise available IT infra to provide real-time information to rural citizens.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has written to all the State governments to take preventive measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in rural India.

To combat Covid-19, the Ministry in its letter has suggested States to sensitise and facilitate the Panchayats/Rural Local Bodies towards meeting the challenge and provide leadership.

The Ministry has advised undertaking an intensive communication campaign for the awareness of rural communities on the nature of the Covid-19 infection and preventive and mitigation measures, following the advice of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), doctors and medical institutions, while especially taking care to dispel false notions and beliefs, it said.

Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, has requested States to set up a suitable inter-departmental monitoring mechanism comprising of officers of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Health, Revenue, Women and Child Development, Education Departments at Block, District and State level to regularly monitor the functioning of the Gram Panchayats and their Committees in respect of tackling the Covid pandemic and related public health issues.

The Ministry has also asked the State governments to involve frontline volunteers from the local community for the campaign viz. elected panchayat representatives, teachers, ASHA workers and they may also be suitably facilitated with necessary protective systems like finger oxy-meters, N-95 masks, infrared thermal scanning instruments, sanitizers.

To provide real-time information on the availability of testing/vaccination centres, doctors, hospital beds to rural citizens, the Ministry has advised state governments to leverage available IT infrastructure like Panchayat offices, Schools, Common Service Centres.

“The Panchayats may be activated to provide the necessary institutional village-level support catering to their respective locations. Wherever possible, they may improvise households as home quarantine locations, where maximum of the asymptomatic Covid positive cases can be managed. Additionally, they may also set up specific quarantine/isolation centres for the needy and returning migrant labourers. In consultation with the Health Department, the Panchayats may be designated to facilitate vaccination drives to ensure maximum coverage of eligible population”, the Ministry has suggested in its letter.

Published on May 11, 2021

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