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What helped Uttar Pradesh contain Covid-19

Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 19, 2021
URL:   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/what-helped-uttar-pradesh-contain-covid-19/articleshow/81583868.cms    

Almost a year into Covid-19 pandemic, UP can count over six lakh patients, but a 98.2% recovery rate and less than 1.4% death rate helped the state outshine others.

However, this success story wouldn’t have been possible without the eight factors which helped UP do better than even the ‘better off’ states despite its huge population and limited resources. Here’s a list —

FORCE OF THREE: The political leadership has been the protagonist of effective Covid management. While CM Yogi Adityanath played the lead, finance and medical education minister Suresh Khanna and health minister Jai Pratap Singh did their best in supporting roles. The ‘Work culture flows from the top’ mantra helped, said a senior officer. “Limited infrastructure and fear of how the pandemic would unfold made many nervous, but the committed political leadership helped, and has been lauded even by WHO,” he said.

THE GO-GETTERS : The next big question was ‘how to make it happen’ and UP’s Team-11 came up with all the answers. Team-11 brainstormed ideas to plug the gaps and find solutions reviewing the situation on daily basis. It also did the spade work to nip challenges in the early stage and mobilised various sectors to contribute wherever needed. Team-11 ensured inter-departmental coordination for convergence of resources.

FOOT SOLDIERS : Since 80% patients were asymptomatic, surveillance was the only way to detect and isolate virus carriers. Over 1 lakh personnel covered localities in different cities. The teams have covered 3.12 crore households in 1.86 lakh localities so far.

TESTING WARRIORS: Doctors, microbiologists, technicians, collection agents, data operators and those manning and maintaining machines helped UP conduct the maximum Covid-19 tests in the nation. Data till March 15 shows more than 3.2 crore tests were done.

OPEN MIND : The virus was new and triggered fear of the unknown. A conventional approach may have given it a chance to spread faster and create havoc, but an open mind of government, policy-makers and health specialists strengthened the fight with initiatives like pool testing and plasma therapy. The use of TB testing machines CB NAT and Trunat for Covid detection was a hallmark. MSME units and sugar mills were prodded to manufacture PPE kits, pulse oxymeters, thermometers, sanitiser and medical oxygen.

TECHNOLOGY SHIFT: When cases started soaring and management of resources, monitoring, surveillance and inter-departmental coordination in districts became tough, technology tools like video conferencing helped. Cell phone GPS was used to keep tab on patients and call records for possible contacts to break the chain.

HELLO DOCTOR: With all focus on pandemic, non-Covid care became a challenge. Telemedicine services like e-Sanjivani became saviours. Official data reveals over 6.2 lakh persons used e-Sanjivani service in UP. Telemedicine and telephonic consultation by experts from SGPGI and other institutes helped people in distress.

FRIENDS OF THE STATE: Healthcare infrastructure needed a major push and investment to tackle the pandemic. Corporates like Tata Trust and HCL donated in both cash and kind. Individuals, too, donated to UP CM’s Covid Care Fund, social organisations and volunteers came out to help, WHO and UNICEF provided technical support, influencers like religious leaders and media helped in countering resistance when tough calls like total lockdown were made.


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