LEHS|WISH has been working at the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic since it was first announced in India. India, a country of more than 1.3 billion people was caught off-guard, and the government and health officials found themselves unprepared to handle the massive problem arising from the pandemic. LEHS|WISH immediately swung into action for controlling this infectious disease. Given the diversity of the country, with socio-economic inequality, it has been extremely crucial to address the issues arising at each level to put up a decent fight against the disease. While the central and state governments were toiling hard to put their best efforts, it was critical that we participate in the fight against COVID-19.
More than sixty-five percent of India’s population lives in rural areas and hence a robust strategy to prevent and reduce community transmission becomes the need of the hour. LEHS|WISH, with its presence in five states, stepped up by supporting the containment strategy as per the guidelines of the Government of India and consciously leveraged digital technology in its roll-out plan, wherever relevant.
LEHS|WISH went that extra mile to fight this disease and lessen its impact. With the efforts of our scientists and medical fraternity, Corona vaccine is available for immunization of the people. And as always, LEHS|WISH is committed to the cause of ensuring that people receive the due vaccination and are safe from this deadly disease.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, LEHS|WISH has gone the extra mile, ensuring complete support to the government’s containment strategy in its five intervention states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh. LEHS|WISH has worked on different quarters providing surveillance support, deploying adequate manpower, building the capacity of health workers, and worked in tandem with the district health officials. Its technical experts partnered with the government across states in establishing control rooms to support the following efforts:
- Overseeing the execution of geographic quarantine efforts
- Social distancing measures
- Active surveillance activities
- Testing of suspected cases
- Isolation and management of positive cases by providing telemedicine and tele counseling services
- Home quarantine of people in contact with COVID-19 individuals
LEHS|WISH designed various digital tools to enable frontline health workers, operations, and program teams to undertake their day-to-day responsibilities safely. It augmented the digital health initiatives, like teleconsultations as per Government of India guidelines, telemedicine availability, digital screening systems, and processes through med-tech products. LEHS|WISH organized training of public health professionals using virtual digital platforms for skill and competency development on case referral procedures and public information dissemination best practices. It also enhanced diagnostics through the introduction of relevant innovative Point of Care Devices (PoCDs) across facilities and structures improving screening and social distancing for improved health outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable group, that is, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions.
Following are some of the key highlights of our recent COVID-19 initiatives in the intervention states:
- LEHS|WISH and Pfizer Upjohn, a division of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, combined their efforts to support the initiatives of the Government of Delhi. At Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs), PPE kits were made available for frontline health workers and handed over to Mr. Satyendra Jain, Minister of Health, Government of Delhi, for distribution to ensure the safety of healthcare staff.
- The Delhi state team of LEHS|WISH conducted training sessions for doctors in the AAMCs. The team capacitated around four hundred doctors with updated information on COVID-19- symptoms, line of treatment, precautions, and much more.
- LEHS|WISH team in Delhi also collaborated with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare to support AAMCs through the project, “Emergency Response and Healthcare Preparedness to contain COVID-19 pandemic”. Rolled out in about twenty-five clinics, the project focuses on the containment of the pandemic and emergency response and relief initiatives. It also focuses on community engagement and capacity building of service providers on COVID-19.
- In Madhya Pradesh, Sanjeevani Clinics have been converted into Fever Clinics in urban slums due to increased risk of infection to the community at large and congestion within slums. At the clinics, every patient is being screened and those with fever are being treated as susceptible cases of COVID-19. As a technical support unit of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, LEHS|WISH is providing techno-managerial support, development of SOPs following state guidelines, conducting training for Fever Clinics, handholding support at the facility level, and monitoring of clinics for adherence to protocol.
- COVID-19 response in Assam included the creation of Isolation Wards in six Smart Hospitals supported by LEHS|WISH to provide emergency care to suspected and symptomatic cases. The critical cases are referred to the designated tertiary care facility. LEHS|WISH is using online trainings to train health frontline workers on COVID containment protocols. It has created a cadre of youth volunteers called COVID Sakha and Sakhi to spread awareness about COVID in the community, and support in its early detection and referral. A few PoCDs like Dozee, Inject have been added to the healthcare system to promote extensive use of non-touch med-tech devices during the COVID period.
- In Rajasthan, working closely with the state government, LEHS|WISH is strengthening the response to COVID-19 at the PHC level. LEHS|WISH team and PHC staff conducted multiple rounds of Household (HH) surveys to identify COVID infected cases. All such cases are being screened, and all COVID 19 positive cases have been quarantined. At the PHC level, a safe environment has been created both for the patient and staff. There is also a provision of special beds for the delivery of infected pregnant women at the PHCs. To ensure restoration of essential services for safe delivery, a Model Labor Ward has also been created at the PHC. The strengthened delivery services have led to higher satisfaction among expectant mothers amidst the COVID situation.
- In Uttar Pradesh, as part of its COVID response, LEHS|WISH is promoting teleconsultations through Digital Health and Wellness Centers (d-HWCs). These are proving to be of immense help to the people requiring medical attention during the pandemic. In the districts of Shravasti and Fatehpur, LEHS|WISH has established ten model dHWCs that are primarily driven by technology. In both these districts, LEHS|WISH is supporting five facilities (one PHC and four sub-centers). The dHWC model has successfully accepted telehealth as a part of the primary healthcare support in the state.