The Inside Districts series launched in April 2020 is a one-of-its-kind attempt to capture the experiences of the district and block-level officials, panchayat functionaries, beneficiaries and frontline workers on their challenges and best practices during the pandemic.
This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker in Udaipur, Rajasthan, in Hindi on 2 June, 2021 and has been translated.
Q: What kind of challenges did you face in the second wave of the pandemic?
Anganwadi Worker (AWW): We were hoping that things will get better in 2021. However, they became worse. In the first wave last year, infections were more prevalent in cities. In the second wave, it spread to the villages as well.
The months of April and May were scary for us. During the surveys, when we asked people if anyone was sick at their home, they got scared and hid information from us. They were scared of being quarantined.
We also had to update relevant records every day and send this information to higher authorities. We had to fill forms and send information to the Gram Panchayat, the Health Department and the Women and Child Development Department simultaneously, which was challenging.
Q: Are the beneficiaries being provided with services like Take Home Ration (THR)?
AWW: Yes, THR is being provided regularly. We distribute wheat, rice and pulses to the beneficiaries. Earlier, when we provided cooked food, the beneficiaries used to be reluctant, but now they take dry ration from us happily.
We recently distributed THR to the beneficiaries after 2 months. The dealer had got ration for our centre 2 months ago, but he did not give us on time.
Q: Are there any preschool educational activities being organised for children?
AWW: No preschool learning activities have been conducted for children since March 2020.
Q: Are there COVID-19 positive cases in your village?
AWW: We had 30 COVID-19 positive cases in April and May. In the beginning, two people who had COVID-19 symptoms died. After that, we started going door-to-door, asking people to get tested. We also monitored people who tested positive and shared their information with higher officials.
Every day we conducted surveys in 10–20 households and visited the houses of COVID-19 patients to take an update.
Note: More experiences can be found on the dedicated Inside Districts platform.