New Delhi: India is at a very crucial stage in its fight against the transmission of coronavirus at the community level. In this backdrop, the National Health Mission (NHM) has advised health workers, who are part of the primary health care (PHC) team, to ensure safety for themselves and their families, while performing duties at the forefront.
According to the WHO, primary healthcare is focused at providing care in the community as well as care through the community, the PHC addresses not only individual and family health needs, but also the broader issue of public health and the needs of defined populations.
The guidelines for the PHC team members focus on — how does COVID-19 spread, group of people at high risk, key messages on prevention of COVID-19, the PHC team members role in early detection and referral, instructions on home quarantine. And most importantly, taking care of them and carrying on with their duties as a frontline worker.
According to the NHM document, frontline workers role in the fight against the spread of coronavirus is two-fold: Spread key messages in the community about measures to prevent the infection, and take actions for early detection and referral of suspected COVID-19 cases.
“Avoid gatherings such as melas, haats, gatherings in religious places, social functions, etc. Maintain a safe distance of at least one metre between you and other people when in public places, especially if they are having symptoms such as cough, fever etc. to avoid direct droplet contact. Stay at home as much as possible”, said the NHM in the document.
The NHM emphasised community workers should prepare a line list of all people who have travelled to other countries or other states inside India in last 14 days.
“Take all preventive measures that you are talking about in the community such as keeping safe distance, washing hands frequently, including before and after home visits. Carry your own soap if necessary. If you are visiting or accompanying a suspected case to any health facility, make sure to cover both your mouth and nose with folded cloth or mask”, said the document on steps to prevent the infection.
The health ministry also sensitised the health workers to differentiate between myth and facts on the spread of the infection, as it would contain rumours on the spread of the infection. The coronavirus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites. Even people with the COVID-19 infection having no symptoms can spread the disease”, said the document.