Samples from people with fever, influenza, and respiratory problems are being collected from 25,000 villages of Assam as part of efforts to contain the community-level spread of coronavirus. The drive started with a spike in coronavirus cases in the state, in which it was found that some people without any travel history or such contacts, have tested positive for the disease.
From Monday, the ambitious coronavirus hunt will be carried out simultaneously in 29 out of Assam’s 33 districts. Five of the districts are serving as the state’s regional hubs for COVID tests.
The programme plans to find unreported cases of SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infections) and ILI (Influenza-Like Illness) from every village of Assam and will further treat the symptomatic minor flu cases at their homes. The teams will also test for symptoms for Japanese Encephalitis which hits the state every year during summer.
“Assam has developed an innovative plan for ramping up testing in rural areas,” the state’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told NDTV
The state, he said, has formed teams comprising doctors, nurses, health workers, and lab technicians who will go village to village looking for people who have symptoms of coronavirus, influenza, malaria, and Japanese Encephalitis.
“The teams will go from village to village, the local health worker will organize the villagers for the tests… This way, we will cover 25,000 villages and with each passing day, we will ramp up testing,” the minister added.
In some districts of Assam, the project started on May 7. “Over the last three days, 6,809 villages have been visited,” said Dr Lakshmanan S, chief of the state unit of the National Health Mission.
The project’s reach will cover close to 3 crore people, an official said.
“The Assam Community Surveillance programme will expand across the state except for Kamrup (M), Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Sonitpur and Cachar. These districts already serve as the regional hubs for our COVID screening and quarantine, testing and screening. Our people are busy handling the migrants” Dr Lakshmanan S said.
The Deputy Commissioners in every district shall monitor, supervise and co-ordinate the activity, which would involve 1,800 doctors and more than 43,000 healthcare workers and technicians.