The Government of Kerala has been receiving praise for the way it is tackling the COVID-19 emergency.The Kerala government’s preparedness on the parameters of health infrastructure prerequisites is considered relatively stronger than other States.
Kerala’s preparedness for COVID-19
First State to draft measures for its containment
When various countries started confirming cases as early as mid-January,Kerala became the first Indian State to draft measures for its containment.
More vigilant and proactive measures
Kerala’s measures became more stringent when the State reported its first case on January 30.
Since then, the government has become more vigilant and taken proactive measures to trace people who have had primary and secondary contact with those who tested positive. All those who were in primary and secondary contact were tested and kept in isolation or home quarantined.
The state tightened the norms for people returning from other countries. It started
taking strict action against all those who were not revealing their travel history.
Mobile application called GoK Direct.-It ensures that people have access to the dos and don’ts for self-isolation, monitoring symptoms and reporting to health facilities at the right time.
The Disha helpline-It is used for awareness generation.
The ‘Break the Chain’ campaign-It advocates ideas of basic cleanliness and hygiene.This attempt to bring about a behavioural change is gaining traction across the State and is also being picked up by the national media.
Aardram Mission-Efforts are being made to provide infrastructure and quality services through this mission.It focuses on developing primary health centres into family health centres.
Expansion of health infrastructure
The Indian Council of Medical Research has sanctioned 10 testing centres in Kerala.
The government is also planning to facilitate the setting up of more testing centres with the help of the private sector for meeting the required capacity.
It has already set up the National Institute of Virology’s unit in Alappuzha soon after the Nipah incident.
Effective monitoring system
The epidemiological status of the State is currently characterised by the burden of both non-communicable diseases and increased incidence of communicable diseases in recent times.
The monitoring system created by the government in public health infrastructure has been highly successful. It has helped healthcare officials to detect and combat diseases quickly.
Other measures taken
Checking people at different entry points-The state kept the list of people under observation.Healthcare workers are stationed at all check posts on roads and train stations to check travellers for the virus before they enter the city.
Cancellation of big religious ceremonies.
- Need of Improving the testing infrastructure:
- If we are to learn from China and South Korea, the most efficient way to tackle the situation is to aggressively trace and test potential cases of COVID-19.
- Experts have said that the only reason South Korea was able to handle the crisis without imposing any lockdown was because of rampant testing.
- Judicious use of available facilities and localise efforts:
- This can be achieved only through clear political will, strong public healthcare services and commitment on the part of people.
- What can citizens do?
- If the people refrain from testing without solid grounds the public health facilities will not be overwhelmed.
- Such precautionary measures and social distancing by citizens will buy some time and lighten the burden on government functionaries.
- This buffer period then can be leveraged by the State government to strengthen testing facilities so that we reach a point where a maximum number of symptomatic individuals can be tested.
Also read: India’s Response To COVID-19
Image Source: The hindu