Chandigarh, June 12 – In a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at checking the community spread of Covid, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has launched a mobile based app – ‘Ghar Ghar Nigrani’, to undertake house to house surveillance in the state in an ongoing process, till the elimination of the pandemic.
Launching the app through video conference in the presence of Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, the Chief Minister described the Health Department initiative, encompassing ASHA workers/Community Volunteers, as a tool for early detection and testing of the coronavirus, and preventing its community spread.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Anurag Agarwal said that the entire rural and urban population of Punjab above 30 years of age shall be surveyed as part of the drive, which will also cover persons below the age of 30 having co-morbidity or Influenza like Illness/Severe Acute Respiratory Illness.
This would not be a one-time activity but an ongoing process till the containment of COVID, said Agarwal.
The survey would capture full medical conditions of a person for the previous one week and complete details of his/her co-morbidity, Agarwal said, adding that this would help the state develop an extremely important database to further plan its COVID containment strategy and make targeted interventions for the community. Apart from this, the survey shall give better direction to all state Health programmes by providing ides for MIS based monitoring, he further said.
According to Special Secretary, Health-cum-Testing Incharge COVID, Isha Kalia, the user-friendly app had been developed and designed in-house by the Health Department, and had been field tested in Patiala and Mansa. Around 20,628 persons were surveyed, of whom 9045 were found to be asymptomatic and 1583 with symptoms of cough/fever/sore throat/breathlessness etc.
The survey is currently under way in 518 villages and 47 urban wards. Around 4.88% persons have been found to be hypertensive, 2.23 % diabetic, 0.14 % having kidney disease, 0.64% with Heart Disease, 0.13% having TB and 0.13% having Cancer.
The ASHA worker/community volunteers will be paid Rs. 4 per head incentive/honorarium for every person surveyed and shall cover 500 households. A certificate of appreciation will be issued by the Department to each volunteer as recognition of her contribution.
A supervisor will oversee the work of ASHA/Community Volunteers, and would be engaged on voluntary basis @ Rs 5000 per month. The supervisor shall be directly responsible for quality check of data fed by the volunteers, monitoring their daily progress and ensuring COVID testing of those found to be symptomatic.
Community volunteers will mainly be engaged in areas where ASHA workers are not available, for instance in Urban Areas, or where ASHA is unable to use Mobile App. A community volunteer can be any female over the age of 18, with 10+2 or more as educational qualification and resident of the same village or ward.
Prominent amongst those present at the Video Conference were Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, OP Soni, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, DGP Dinkar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary Food & Civil Supplies K Siva Prasad and Principal Secretary Medical Education & Research DK Tiwari, Advisor Medical Education Dr KK Talwar, Vice Chancellor BFUHS Dr. Raj Bahadur, Director Food & Civil Supplies Anindita Mitra, Director Health Services Dr Avneet Kaur, Dr. Rajesh Kumar from PGIMER and Dr Rajesh Bhaskar Nodal Officer Covid-19.