Centre Issues SOPs To Contain COVID in Rural Areas Amid Surge
Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs) and Chief Health Officers will be trained in rapid antigen testing.
Calling COVID-19 a “predominantly urban phenomenon”, the government of India on Sunday, 16 May, released a slew of SOPs acknowledging that “a gradual ingress is now being seen” in rural and tribal areas.
To contain the rising cases of COVID in semi-urban and rural areas of the country, several areas of focus, including surveillance, virtual consultation with community health officers (CHOs), and training of Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs) and CHOs in rapid antigen testing are among the several areas of focus in the Centre's new SOPs.
The guidelines stated that the monitoring of oxygen saturation is important for supervising COVID patients. “For this it is desirable for each village to have adequate number of pulse oximeters and thermometers,” it said.
The SOPs also highlighted the importance of ensuring that community-based services and primary health infrastructure in these areas are equipped to manage infections.
“In every village, active surveillance should be done for influenza-like illness/severe acute respiratory infections (ILI/SARI) periodically by ASHA with the help of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC),” the guidelines said.
Depending upon the intensity of surge and number of cases, as far as feasible, contact tracing should be done as per Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme’s (IDSP’s) guidelines.
A home isolation kit shall be provided to all active cases, which will include medicines such as paracetamol, ivermectin, cough syrup, and multivitamins, besides a detailed pamphlet that spells out the necessary precautions that need to be taken, a pro forma to monitor the patient's condition, and contact details of community health officer in case major symptoms develop.
“Patients under home isolation will be discharged and end isolation after at least 10 days have passed from onset of symptoms (or from date of sampling for asymptomatic cases) and no fever for 3 days. There is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over,” the guidelines added.
The guidelines also said, “The Community Health Officer or the ANMs/Multipurpose Health Worker (Male) should be the nodal person for the COVID Care Centre from the Health sector and ASHA/Anganwadi Worker will be supporting them.”
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