How CHHATTISGARH laid down one of the best models for containing COVID-19?

WHY CHHATTISGARH has one of the best recovery rates and lowest fatality rates?

Covid-19 is steadily spreading its wings in India with 13,495 cases throughout the nation with 448 fatalities, reported as of 17th April. On one hand, India is applauded by esteemed organizations like WHO and the entire world is praising the country’s effort in fight against novel coronavirus, whereas Chhattisgarh has made its own mark by setting up an inspirational model for other states to combat and prevent COVID-19. The state is receiving appreciation from the centre & world leaders for the way the situation was tackled and managed.

Chhattisgarh, a heavily forested state in Central India with a majority of tribal population, narrates a tale of perseverance and tactful management of the pandemic with a total of 36 cases reported in the state by now, out of which 23 recovered, zero fatalities reported and 13 active patients undergoing treatment in AIIMS, Raipur. The state accounts for as little than 0.266% of share in COVID_19 cases across India and a recovery rate of 63.88% as of 17th April. The question is, How was it is possible to prevent the spread of virus in such an efficient and effective manner in the state with speedy recovery rates and not even a single death? Was it due to the proactive measures formulated by the state government or the excellent doctors at AIIMS, Raipur who were working around the clock to treat their patients or was it about the discipline exercised by the public or was it because of the public administration and police working endlessly to ensure and implement regulatory measures or was it because of the sanitation workers ensuring hygiene and cleanliness every day or maybe the lab experts who were constantly engaged in collecting test samples, knocking from one door to the other. Well, the credit goes to joint efforts laid down by all of them.

The state worked recklessly with an agenda of early protection, early identification, early diagnosis, and early isolation. Even before the identification of the first case in the state, continuous monitoring, strict social distancing norms, border sealing with other states were ensured at the nascent stage. Self isolation and 14 day quarantine, later extended for 28 days quarantine period of people returning from other nations and states, was placed as a major priority. More than 76000 people in the state are put under home quarantine and isolation as a measure of prevention. All schools, colleges have been closed, exams have been postponed and cinema halls-multiplexes have been closed since March 13 in the state.

Chhattisgarh has successfully implemented a ruthless containment strategy by exercising a strict lockdown since March 20, with the identification of the first case of a 24-year-old woman who just returned from UK. A total of 5519 samples have been tested by now, of them 4878 samples have tested negative while testing of 208 samples is currently underway.
Of the 36 cases reported in C. G, Katghora in Korba district emerged as a hotspot in the state, and accounted for 27 cases, followed by Raipur Five cases and Rajnandgaon, Bilaspur, Durg and Korba each reporting just one case. 23 districts of Chhattisgarh have remained completely untouched by COVID-19 infection. As soon as the first case of a 16-year-old boy from Purani Basti area in Katghora tested positive on 4th April, the entire area was sealed down immediately and tests were conducted for every person in the village, contacts were traced, and masks were made mandatory in the state by immediate action.

The health infrastructure was made stronger and capable enough to deal with the crisis, AIIMS in the state capital was fully equipped and prepared to deal with any sort of emergency, setting up of 100-10 bed Isolation Wards in all districts, providing license to three distilleries for industrial manufacturing of alcohol based hand sanitizer (hand rub solution) in the state, increasing the service period of 401 contract based Ayurveda physicians by three months, special allowance to staff engaged in the treatment of COVID-19, distribution of 970479 free masks were some early preventive measures undertaken by the state government.

Majority of cases in the state fall under the age group of 20-40. The major reason behind having a better recovery rate is also early detection of the cases. Most of the patients started receiving treatment in the early stages of their infection, which is why they responded well.

To control panic buying among people and to prevent over crowding in grocery stores, 70 kg lump sum rice for Two months was distributed to 65.35 lakh families of the state & free of cost to 56.55 lakh families and at Rs 10/kg to 8.81 lakh APL families, also free of cost ration was provided for One month to non ration card holders to ensure no one sleeps with an empty stomach across the state. Additionally, Disinfectants were sprayed via drones and health workers personally reached out to places to spray them. Helpline number was established at state and district level for the convenience of registered labors stranded in other states amidst lockdown and necessary help was immediately provided to them.

(By – Taran prakash sinha, Commissioner , public relations, Chhattisgarh)

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