New Delhi: It isn’t suitable for the Covid surveillance door-to-door survey, currently under way in Delhi, to cover the entire population of the national capital, states a report compiled by the National Centre for Disease Control, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Niti Aayog, the Delhi government and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
The door-to-door survey, to cover nearly 40 lakh households, began on 26 June. But as reported by ThePrint, it has been beset by some teething troubles — from district magistrates complaining about the lack of the staff to confusion on the protocol to be followed in case of a positive patient.
List a few challenges, the report dated 1 July has said the “door-to-door survey may not be suitable for Delhi at this juncture”, recommending a modified approach by including only certain areas for surveillance.
The survey, which was to end on 6 July will now be reviewed on 10 July, according to the report.
The report, accessed by ThePrint, states that “door-to-door surveys of the entire population can be modified for maximising the deliverables for effective containment and reducing mortality and morbidity”.
As part of the modified strategy, the report has called for partial surveys of the 421 containment zones, areas with isolated cases and areas that until now have not reported any case. The areas with isolated cases include those that have been regularly reporting isolated cases for over 28 days along with localities with “infrequent isolated cases”, according to the report.
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The new suggested modifications
According to the report, districts will be asked to enhance surveillance in containment zones with a “strict perimeter control”. This calls for officials to make personal visits for the survey and not rely on simple telephonic calls.
On the other hand, in localities with isolated cases, district surveillance officers will be told to map areas that have been reporting cases for 14 days. “Epidemiological situation analysis and tracking transmission chains and use of mobile apps” will also have to be done by the 11 districts in Delhi, the report states.
In areas that haven’t reported any case for 28 days, or “free areas”, the report states that the objective will be to reduce morbidity and mortality of high-risk groups. As such, the survey will target groups such as delivery persons, plumbers and other daily workers, domestic helps, taxi, auto and rickshaw drivers, and daily suppliers of food. The report also states that in case of villages, the sarpanch will constitute “nigrani samitis” to help list the elderly and those who have comorbid conditions.
Report flags issues with the survey
The report also flags the problems that the survey has been facing.
For one, it states that there are “practical difficulties with the ongoing intense surveillance work”. “This may also hamper proper contact tracing in the high risk areas or containment zones across the city or district or state,” the report reads.
It also states that a one-time survey may “not be beneficial in terms of yield as ILI (Influenza like illness) and SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) can occur at any point of time”.
The door-to-door survey aims to help the Delhi government get a hang on the Covid-19 situation in Delhi, where cases have been rising by the thousands every day. The decision to conduct the survey was taken in a meeting on 23 June after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stepped in to aid the national capital’s Covid-19 efforts.
As of Saturday, Delhi has a total of 97,200 cases with 3,004 deaths. It tested 6,69,268 samples as of Saturday.
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