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   Table of Contents      
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-40

Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Encouraging Involvement of Community Workers in the Active Search of Cases


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission31-Mar-2020
Date of Decision03-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Professor Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu - 603108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_24_20

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  Abstract 


In the ongoing Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the role of health care professionals and outreach workers is indispensable towards the prevention and control of the disease. Anticipating the risk that the disease might land up into stage 3, a wide range of interventions have been implemented. However, the most important strategy will be to spread awareness about the disease and intensify actively search for the suspect cases in the community and here comes the role of outreach community workers. As the doctors and other paramedical staff are overwhelmed with the COVID-19 related work and are also involved in the delivery of emergency services, the importance of the role discharged by these community workers is extremely vital. In conclusion, the role of outreach community workers in creating awareness about COVID-19 and the identification of the suspect cases in the community through active search is extremely crucial in containing the disease and interrupting the chain of the transmission.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, community workers, infection prevention and control, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Encouraging Involvement of Community Workers in the Active Search of Cases. MAMC J Med Sci 2020;6:39-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Encouraging Involvement of Community Workers in the Active Search of Cases. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 4];6:39-40. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2020/6/1/39/283503




  Introduction Top


In the ongoing Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the role of health care professionals and outreach workers is indispensable towards the prevention and control of the disease. The global estimates depict that a total of 693,224 cases and 33,106 deaths have been reported worldwide, amounting to a case fatality rate of 4.77%.[1] In the South East Asian Region, 10 of the 11 nations have reported cases, with Thailand (1524 cases) leading the chart followed by Indonesia (1285 cases) and India (1091 cases).[1]

Implemented public health measures

Anticipating the risk that the disease might land up into stage 3 of community transmission, which will impose a significant burden on the health delivery system due to rapid surge in the number of cases, a number of governments have implemented multiple measures. These measures predominantly are implemented on the basis of the scientific principle of social distancing, which has been found extremely effective in interrupting the chain of the transmission.[1],[2] The implemented measures include closure of educational institutions, promotion of work from home, delaying weddings or other forms of social gatherings, and the biggest one being the imposition of complete lockdown for varied periods of time.

From the scientific perspective, this lockdown can play an important role in breaking the transmission chain, but the overall effectiveness of the lockdown can be enhanced by supplementing it with strategies like active surveillance, subjecting all the suspects for diagnostic tests, isolation of the confirmed cases, quarantine of the contacts and provision of appropriate treatment to the confirmed cases.[3]

Role of Community workers

In fact, our most important strategy will be to spread awareness about the disease and intensify actively search for the suspect cases in the community and here comes the role of outreach community workers.[3] As the doctors and other paramedical staff are overwhelmed with the COVID-19 related work and are also involved in the delivery of emergency services, the importance of the role discharged by these community outreach workers is extremely vital.[4]

The primary responsibility of these workers is to spread information among the local community about ways to prevent the acquisition and transmission of infection to others. The local people should be informed about strictly adhering to social distancing through avoiding social gatherings, maintaining a distance of 1 meter from other people (especially if the other person is having respiratory complaints suggestive of COVID-19), staying at home & avoiding unnecessary travel, and avoiding all forms of physical contacts like handshakes.[4],[5] In addition, the residents should be educated about the ways and need to maintain good hand hygiene (viz, frequent washing of hands with soap and clean water before cooking food, before and after eating, after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing, etc.), respiratory hygiene (adhering to cough etiquettes), and discourage the practice of spitting in public places or touching eyes-nose-mouth with unclean hands.[4]

Early detection of cases

The role of community workers is crucial to facilitate early detection and referral of the suspect cases. They are expected to make a comprehensive line listing of all individuals who have travelled either to other nations or to other states in the last two weeks. All these individuals should be explained about the symptoms of the disease and subsequently instructed for home quarantine and report to the health care establishments, if symptomatic.[4] All residents who are suspect case of COVID-19 should be either isolated in primary health center or referred to higher center, and if the suspect is confirmed of the disease, all the household members should be home quarantined.[4] Amidst carrying out all these duties, it is must that the safety of the outreach workers should be our utmost priority as they are acting as out initial line of defense against this novel viral infection.[6] Thus, the outreach workers should simultaneously adhere to the infection prevention and control recommendations, not participate in any kind of social gatherings, self-monitor for the development of symptoms-signs of the disease and report immediately on the development of symptoms.[4],[6]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, the role of outreach community workers in creating awareness about COVID-19 and the identification of the suspect cases in the community through active search is extremely crucial in containing the disease and interrupting the chain of the transmission. Thus, their services should be smartly utilized by the health sector and all measures should be taken to safeguard their well-being as well.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report − 70; 2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200330-sitrep-70-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=7e0fe3f8_2. [Accessed on March 31, 2020].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019‑nCoV): Strategic preparedness and response plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1–20.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 − 23 March 2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19–-23-march-2020. [Accessed on March 31, 2020].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. Role of frontline workers in prevention and management of Coronavirus. New Delhi: Government of India Press; 2020. p. 1–4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Minimizing the risk of international spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak by targeting travelers. J Acute Dis 2020;9:47-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  
6.
The Lancet. COVID-19: protecting health-care workers. Lancet 2020;395:922.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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