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Jharkhand is now preparing to carry out a massive "Intensive Public Health Survey" covering all households in rural and urban areas. The survey would map the spread of Covid-19 cases and identify related deaths, which are estimated to be much higher than official records.
According to a Health Department letter, around one lakh Sahiyas (ASHAs), Auxiliary Nurse Midwives and Community Health Officers will come forward to conduct this exercise between May 19 and 25, reported The Indian Express.
The letter, which is issued to all Deputy Commissioners on May 14, stated that a public survey would be conducted to prevent the spread of infection in the community as it is important to identify, and diagnose the cases as early as possible and take preventive measures.
It further mentioned that priority needs to be given to 40-plus people as well as those with comorbidities. All people who are suffering from cough, fever, body ache, or loss of taste, would be tested.
The survey would be conducted over seven days with specific tasks for each day.
Apart from this, the surveyors would also track pregnant women and conduct health check-up of children. According to the details mentioned in the letter, the first day of the IPHS week will be utilised to advertise the survey through various means.
According to a Health Department officer, over one lakh people would be engaged in conducting the survey and related work. He said that the Sahiya and Sevika in each village would conduct the survey in their village.
In case if the need arises, additional help will also be provided to them, the officer said.
He also shared that the government has ordered inter-departmental coordination for the survey as well as in conducting tests, making arrangements, running panchayat isolation centres and running block-level call centres.
A letter from the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Arun Singh sent on May 15 stated that they are getting information about the infection rates and deaths in rural areas. It also mentioned that for better management of the present situation, a Block COVID Task Force needs to be constituted, which will include nine officials, including Block Development Officers to Civil Surgeons.
In the urban areas, Urban Sahiyas will be asked to do the work where ever they have been appointed, along with Mahila Arogya Samiti (MAS) members. MAS, a group of households in urban areas, oversees the health and sanitation of their areas.
For conducting the survey, Anganwadi workers and ward members will also be roped in.
As per the official records, between March and May 14, Jharkhand has witnessed a four-fold increase in Covid-19 deaths—from 1,113 to 4,290.
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