Bhubaneswar: Community participation through 110 Slum and Village Committees under the North Zone of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has resulted in a sustained awareness generation and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Though there are more than 400 slums across the city, the COVID-19 positives in these settlements remained low as mentioned by the civic authorities. For the last two months regular awareness, sanitation, home inspection and visits by the Slum and Village Committees have resulted in a marked difference.
Currently in those 400 odd slums we have 594 active cases only. Not only by the government system but through the active participation of the citizens have resulted in this success in this war against the pandemic.
According to sources these activities in fact, have helped in lowering the COVID burden. North Zone has sanctioned Rs.5,000 to each committee as a first-round budget for IEC and awareness. Involvement of local and community members in different COVID prevention activities has resulted in the active community participation with a tangible reduction of slum cases in North Zone of BMC.
The civic body has released 1 lakh to each ward as a budget to fight against COVID-19. In Number 21 ward of North Zone 110 Slum and village Committees have already been formed to work towards the community-led fight against the Corona virus. Each of the Slum and Village committee was financed under the Ward budget.
The committees have been engaged in promoting information education communication (IEC) campaigns, family awareness, organising meetings, sanitisation, helping surveillance team, spraying of sodium hypochlorite solution in the affected surroundings, up-to-date information about symptomatic cases and organising meetings to review the status.
A Slum Committee member of Trinath Basti, Ward No. 12 said “The Slum Committee in our locality works for our overall welfare. Since the early days of the COVID pandemic we are working hard to keep every family safe from the tentacles of the dreaded Corona. The Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) from BMC have also trained us to increase our immune system and to fight the pandemic. Dividing our time-table we are educating every household through campaign meetings, keeping soap and water in various places across the slum and making outsiders to use the soap and water positively. We report every suspected case through the ASHA, Anganwadi worker and Ward Officer.’’
“With the funds provided by BMC we are procuring bleaching powder, organizing IEC activities and making people aware,’’ he added.
Another Slum Committee member from Esaneswar Basti in Ward No. 14 said “we discuss about immunity and how to keep it against the fight against COVID regularly in our slum. Wearing of masks, washing of hands with soap at regular interval, keeping physical distancing, avoiding crowd near shops and market places, keeping the environment and surrounding clean and keeping outsiders in quarantine, cooperating with the RRTs and local self-help groups have helped us a lot in the long battle against the Corona virus.’’
Under the IEC activities the plying of vehicles with message to create awareness on wearing masks, physical distancing and washing of hands at frequent interval and not to crows market places have created impact on people’s mind.