• Friday, Sep 24, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:28 am

Community engagement brings down Covid cases three-fold in Joypurhat

  • Published at 07:58 pm July 27th, 2021
brac joypurhat
Brac health workers distribute masks to pedestrians and traders in Natunhat of ​​Joypurhat municipality Dhaka Tribune

The district’s Covid positivity rate was now much lower compared to last month, thanks to Covid-related programs undertaken by various NGOs, said Joypurhat civil surgeon

Niva Rani Sarkar, 55, recently lost her husband Sukmal Sarkar, who was killed by a lightning strike in their backyard. She was with him at the time and also received an injury to her leg.

Meanwhile, although she had become confined to her home after her injury, she had been experiencing some symptoms of Covid-19 for the past few weeks.

Informed of her condition, Devati Rani, a nurse at Brac, a non-governmental development organization working to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, went to visit Niva in Purulia village in Mohammadpur union of Joypurhat Sadar upazila.

She took her temperature and measured her blood oxygen level, both of which appeared to be normal. So she contacted Dr Afzal Hossain, a Dhaka-based doctor who worked with Brac. 

After acquainting himself with the patient's details via a video call, Dr Afzal confirmed that Niva was in fact not infected with Covid-19. She had a seasonal fever and so he prescribed her necessary medicine.

In this way, doctors are providing telemedicine in Joypurhat's Sadar upazila, as well as other hard to reach areas of the country.

During a recent visit to Natunhat of Joypurhat municipality, this correspondent saw Brac’s mask distribution program for pedestrians and traders in the market. 

Meanwhile, at Joypurhat railway station, hotspot mobilizers and community mobilizers were promoting as well as encouraging people to wear masks.

Brac Manager (Sadar upazila) Debashish Banerjee said: “At the beginning of June, the Covid infection rate in the district was between 20-25%. And by July 25, this number came down to 7.01%. So, we can assume that the prevention mechanism is helping to reduce the spread.”

Mobilizers were working on raising awareness and reinforcing mask use at hotspot points and Dhaka-based doctors were providing telemedicine services to Covid patients here through local healthcare networks, he added.

From June 12 till July 18, around 320,000 masks were distributed in Joypurhat. Currently, 41 health workers, 410 nurses, and 30 community mobilizers and hotspot mobilizers are engaged under the CFRC initiative.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Joypurhat Civil Surgeon Dr Wazed Ali said that the district’s Covid positivity rate was now much lower compared to last month, thanks to Covid-related programs undertaken by various NGOs.

Brac has taken an initiative to distribute 13 million masks across the country under its Community Fort in Resisting Covid-19 (CFRC) project, which is currently operational in 35 high-risk districts.

With a community-driven Covid-19 response and local-level health system strengthening approach, Brac has partnered with the DGHS, CSO Alliance and UN agencies to implement this initiative. A total of 41 local NGOs in the identified districts are acting as implementing partners.

Brac is putting maximum emphasis on the proper use of masks to ward off transmission. The other approaches include spreading information and motivation about handwashing with soap and water, maintaining coughing etiquettes and social distancing and vaccine registration. Measures are also being taken to address misinformation and rumours around Covid-19.

Community groups are being engaged in awareness activities and rapid response. In addition, local government officials, volunteers and community leaders are being empowered with knowledge on Covid-19 related issues to ensure preventive behaviour at the hotspots, such as mosques, transport hubs, markets and shops.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Dr Morseda Chowdhury, director of health, nutrition and population program (HNPP) at Brac, said: “One of the most important aspects of Brac’s CFRC initiative is telemedicine services. To this end, frontline health workers are making household visits to identify suspected Covid-19 cases. Individuals matching with sets of clinical criteria are being connected to the telemedicine services for further support.” 

"These households are also receiving information on home management of mild and moderate cases, possible referral points and testing facilities, quarantine protocols and best practices to prevent further spread of infection among the other household members," she added.


This story has been published in partnership with Brac

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