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.
This interview was conducted with a Community Health Officer (CHO) in Osmanabad, Maharashtra, in Hindi on 27 May, 2021, and has been translated.
Q: What are your main tasks during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Community Health Officer (CHO): We are involved in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. We are responsible for sending COVID-19 positive patients to the Primary Health Centre (PHC). We send reports to the Medical Officer, fill in information online for vaccination, carry out home visits, organise COVID-19 testing camps in the village and perform other tasks assigned by the Medical Officer.
Q: What kind of challenges are you facing with COVID-19 vaccinations?
CHO: We take care of the entire responsibility of the vaccination centre. We fill in the information of beneficiaries online. We keep a tab of how many vaccines are available at the centre and how many have been given to people. The vaccines are administered by the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM).
There are not many challenges. Sometimes if there are a lot of people who walk in without registering first, information about them has to be filed online. This is not always possible, and hence, we write it down in a register, administer the vaccines and then fill the information online later.
Q: How are COVID-19 patients being isolated and what efforts are being made to stop the infection from spreading?
CHO: COVID-19 positive patients are mostly sent to the COVID-19 designated centre. Some people do not go and choose to live in a separate house or their farm. They inform the Panchayat and the ASHA workers.
To stop the spread, we ask people to wear masks and maintain social distancing. However, our main focus is contact tracing, finding out about people who are at high risk and then testing them.
We have set up a camp in the village in which 100 COVID-19 tests were done today itself. Twenty-eight people were detected positive, including four children.
Note: More experiences can be found on the dedicated Inside Districts platform.