Knock, Knock! Are you COVID-19 free?

COVID-19 National

Karnataka government is conducting a door-to-door survey as a part of its efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

By Batchu Rushali

The Bengaluru Urban District authorities have started a door-to-door survey with the help of ASHA and Anganwadi workers in Bangalore to check for the symptoms of COVID-19 and create awareness among the residents. 

Dr Prabhudev Gowda, State Nodal Officer for ASHA workers in Karnataka said, “Presently, we are conducting two kinds of survey—cluster survey and door-to-door survey. We are inspecting the people who came in contact with a primary suspect or a COVID-19 patient and along with that, we are also checking on the people through the door to door survey. We have got around 42,000 ASHA workers in the state and around 1199 ASHA workers in Bangalore to conduct the survey and create awareness among the people. They are allotted around 1000 households to cover.”

An article by The New Indian Express states that the process of survey involves all the wards except the ones that fall under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). BBMP will allot separate teams for conducting surveys which fall under them. It was started to ensure the safety of the people and the target is to survey 60,000 households per day till April end. 

Dr Gowda added, “They are trained through YouTube channels. First, we train the medical officer and then we train the ASHA workers through them. We have not provided them with any equipment to check because they are not technically aware. As per the ICMR guidelines, we ask them to maintain one-metre distance while they are conducting the survey.”

Nagalakshmi, an ASHA worker from Bangalore said, “We had started creating awareness long back when the first case surfaced in the state and recently we have started the door-to-door survey to check the symptoms or for counselling. After the lockdown, we were instructed to visit at least 25 houses per day for inspection and are allotted with wards for the survey.”

While the ASHA workers are out on duty to ensure safety and guide people whenever necessary, they have to deal with several limitations due to the lack of proper facilities and the sceptical population. 

The ASHA worker added, “The problem is we are not getting effective response from the people. They are scared that if they are caught with some symptoms, they will be dropped in some quarantine camps. People get defensive about the fact that we are not taking enough precautions to examine them. They say that we are not eligible to conduct the survey because just a mask cannot give us enough protection from the virus.”

She also mentioned that they had demanded more and proper masks and sanitizers because otherwise, the public is not taking them seriously. After one positive case in their area, BBMP supplied gloves to the ASHA workers. It has been three weeks since they have supplied us with masks and gloves and they just provide one sanitizer to one team which is not sufficient for us. All we want is proper supplies and one sanitizer for one person rather than sharing it with the team to maintain the hygiene. 

Dr Gowda said, “The ASHA workers are allotted with areas and they will continue to go around to ask if they have any influenza-like symptoms (ILI) and refer it to the concerned primary health centres.”

Image credit: KPN News

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