As an action-research project, COVI Reach was driven by finding a solution to the crisis and to demonstrate community led models for COVID free Grama Panchayat.
As an action-research project, COVI Reach project was initiated by GRAAM when the number of infections at the taluk level began contributing to the increasing tally of COVID19 cases in the Mysuru district. Lack of beds in the Government hospitals, exorbitant bills at private hospitals, high ambulance charges to transport the patients and the deceased, increasing black fungus cases, lack of testing kits at COVID Mitra centres, shortage of free medicine and home isolation kits, lack of institutional quarantine facilities at the GP/village level and general lack of awareness about the pandemic and the ways to deal with it drove the infection rates as high as 48.5% in the select GPs.
In order to flatten the infection curve in the community, GRAAM launched its ‘Pancha Tantra’ or the five-point programme - Project COVIReach (CO-Covid, VI-Village-Reach) in seven Gram Panchayats (GP) of Mysuru taluk - Gopalapura, Beerihundi, Gungral Chatra, Ananduru, Jayapura, Dhangalli and Harohalli (J) Gram Panchayats. They being:
Strengthening the Grama Panchayat
- Training and Activating Grama Panchayat and Village Task Force
- All activities advised by the government
- Emotional and Moral Support to the families
- Village Isolation/ Quarantine Centres
- GP Care (Isolation) Centres
- Intensifying vaccination drive
- Building Team of Youth volunteers
Team I CAN Information Care and Network
- Right information dissemination
- Vigilance on home isolation and support
- COVID + Needs information to the caregiver
- Information on Hospital – Services – Network to people in the village
- Engaging community based organisations
SHG for SHG
- Self Help Group for Social Hygiene / Harmony / Hope Group
- Ensuring COVID resilient behaviour change
- Community support / Home isolation support
- Supporting Community Health Personnel
Working with PHC
- Personal safety kits
- Hand holding with right information
- Community mask distribution
- Home isolation medical kit
- Home isolation grocery kit
- Awareness drive on vaccination
- Mobilising Civil Society Support
GRAAM SAMVEDANA & SPANDANA
- SAMVEDANA – On the field team
- SPANDANA - Telephonic support to COVID patients + families
- Monitoring home isolation
- Provision of necessary food + medical + transport support
- IEC Activities
The Project was developed with a goal to transform the fight against COVID into a community driven activity from a government dependent activity. A community driven outcome of COVID FREE MYSURU is being achieved through creation of a sustainable system and integration of panchayat and village task forces into it, along with Information Care and Network (ICAN) youth groups and health care workers. The project initially was launched for a period of two months with the support of Aris Global’s CSR outreach. Since the launch of the intervention, the project has been able to serve seven Gram Panchayats comprising 56 villages of Mysore taluk, and a population of more than sixty thousand people.
The project delivery, in terms of mobilising the civil society support, is organised into two teams of GRAAM Samvedana and GRAAM Spandana. GRAAM Samvedana is the field team that provides in-person support to the COVID affected. The team implements an action plan and supports the Gram Panchayats. Three teams led by three coordinators coordinate the project on ground with help from supportive members and volunteers appointed at each village level. The teams function in creation, coordination, delivery and monitoring of the task force, including both Gram Panchayat and Village Task Forces. The teams have also utilised the potential of the youth through the ICAN teams for the COVID relief work. These youth groups have been the force behind constantly driving home the reminders of socially appropriate behaviour. GRAAM strengthened their outreach by providing them the necessary audio-visual materials.
GRAAM Spandana team was constituted to provide tele-based communication to the primary stakeholders in combating COVID with a positive spirit and right information. This team was supported by seven on-call volunteers. The details of COVID affected, cured, in home isolation, hospitalised, affected and in CCC were collected and shared with the GRAAM Spandana team and so far 112 families have been counselled by the GRAAM Spandana team.
The project was inaugurated by Deputy Chief minister and minister for Higher education, electronics, information technology and biotechnology, Science and technology, Skill and livelihood development Former minister and MLA of Chamundershwari constituency in Mysuru G T Devegowda launched the initiative through distribution of medicine kits. Since then the project has managed:
Distribution of IEC materials to 60635 people
- Distribution of 100+ food kits
- Distribution of 500+ sets of prescribed medicine kits to COVID affected families
- Distribution of 3000 booklets and 800 posters for strategic dissemination
- Awareness through 230 audio announcement sessions across 56 villages
- Counselling of 112 families through GRAAM Spandana
Involvement of women in project COVIReach
A very integral and no-less partner in making the seven gram panchayats COVID FREE have been the women self help groups (SHG). Although initially meetings were conducted with only select SHGs in chosen villages, their overwhelming response in the control and management activities of COVID19 spread enabled penetration of the outreach to the next level. The women from the SHGs have volunteered to take up sanitisation efforts too. They have also initiated communicating awareness messages to their group members in their weekly meetings.
Regular meetings are being organised with these groups, PPTs on COVID care and personal hygiene are shown to build the necessary preparedness in them towards the anticipated third wave. Rangoli competitions in the villages have been creating awareness about the pandemic, including usage of masks, sanitiser, maintaining social distance etc. Pregnant women have been involved in meetings to create pregnancy specific awareness among them, while IEC materials have been distributed.
“Gopalura PDO - ‘You saved our reputation’ now the villagers say Panchayath is doing a lot. My GP secretary tested +ve, he was off for a month. My data entry operator was also affected. Alone i wouldn't have establish even the VTF. Although we are able to do all these activities with the support of Covireach project, GP is respected by community due to collaborated effort of COVIREACh project”
Mr. Ramalingachari, president of village task force says , ``Formation of the village task force activated us to take up activities in the village. The team COVIReach suggested an idea of cleaning the water tanks in the action plan. We were unaware of this concept till they briefed it to us. Thus, we immediately took up that idea and worked accordingly. We will continue the same periodically’’.
``The thermometer and oximeter provided by GRAAM really helped us during the pandemic and for our mission COVID Free Mysuru. Now we can check the temperature and the oxygen level accurately. If we find even a slight variation we take them for COVID test. If they are tested positive we admit them to the hospital or we send them for home isolation. It has helped us to make necessary arrangements to combat the COVID. It helped us as well as the public. It also motivated us to do our work’’ narrates ASHA worker of Kote Hundi of Dhanagalli Gram Panchayat
Interim Conclusion: TBF