Nursing Jalgaon Back to Health
- Raghav Goyal
- Published on 13 Nov 2020, 5:25 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
With a frightening 10 percent death rate at one time, the sword of Covid 19 cut deep and mercilessly into the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. But thanks to the District Collector Abhijit Raut who was hurriedly dispatched there on a fire-fighting mission, he brought the situation completely under control.
- Mr. Abhijit Raut inspecting the restricted areas
The year 2020 has been a year of losses, especially for India. Starting with the massive floods of Brahmaputra river in the north-east state of Assam affecting 30,000 people, it coincided with the Covid infiltration. Soon after the first case was reported on January 30, a series of tragedies have hit the country real hard. With more than 87 lakh cases and 1.2 lakh deaths so far, India is among the most affected countries in the world. But even in this dismal situation, a number of `Covid Warriors’ have risen to the situation.
One such hero is the District Collector of Jalgaon District in Maharashtra, Mr Abhijit Raut.
At one time in June 2020, Jalgaon was one of the worst affected districts in Maharashtra- hit particularly hard by coronavirus. Such was the force of the pandemic that at its peak, the death rate here reached 10 percent of the affected patients. It was in this grim and seemingly hopeless situation that Mr Raut was appointed the DC of Jalgaon.
And what a turnaround did the new DC make there in matter of weeks!
THE DC RECALLS
In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Raut said, “Covid-19 was indeed an unprecedented challenge for the entire world. Concepts of isolation on large scales, lockdown, containment zone, etc. were totally new for people in general. I joined as DM Jalgaon in June 2020 when the pandemic was already in full peak in Jalgaon.’’
Jalgaon became one of the severely affected districts as the cumulative number of cases in the district crossed 50,000. Two months into the service as the DC, that is till August 31, Mr. Raut saw that the death rate of the district was higher than the state’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR). Also, the positivity rate reached 20 percent till October 10.
“The situation was pretty dismal. We planned to strictly adhere to protocols issued by Govt. of India, Govt. of Maharashtra, and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Protocols about containment zones, active Surveillance, ambulance management, isolation centers, Covid-19 treatment, contact tracing, swab testing, and dead bodies management, etc. were rigorously implemented.”Mr. Abhijit Raut, District Collector Jalgaon
Mr. Raut’s efforts eventually bore fruits. During October 10 and November 10, there was a complete turnaround in the Covid situation in Jalgaon. And this could have not been possible without the guidance of the administration and the contribution of the community, NGOs, and local SGHs in building the key infrastructure.
As of now the total active cases in the district are 480, where the CFR has come down to 2.37 percent. The doubling of cases has increased from 105 days on October 4 to 641 days currently. The positivity rate has decreased to 17 percent and the recovery rate has increased from 76 percent to 96.73 percent.
Mr. Raut has played a key role in controlling the Covid situation in the district without any prior experience of dealing with the pandemic. Like any other civil servant handling the Covid situation in their designated areas, there are several key takeaways Mr. Raut took from the pandemic.
The reason for this turnaround is nothing but the strict implementation of containment zones, rigorous active surveillance, door to door survey of vulnerable population, involving private health care facilities, increased testing by upgrading RT-PCR lab, strict enforcement of social distancing, masks and interactive information, education and communication (IEC) through films and cartoon strips.
IMPORTANCE OF SYNERGY
“Strong government healthcare system has to be the top priority. In a pandemic, we cannot rely on private facilities alone. Secondly, communication with the public via various media as well as trust-building with people is very important. All information has to be proactively shared with the public. The next important thing is involving NGOs and voluntary organizations in surveillance, which helps in making surveillance effective and genuine. Also, home isolation was a game-changer; this helped people overcome the fear of pandemic.”Mr. Abhijit Raut, District Collector Jalgaon
“Planning has to be proactive and meticulous, considering the worst situation possible. Effective practices in other districts can help a lot in learning about a new healthcare challenge. And lastly, active participation of NGOs, volunteers and CSR groups also help the administration’s efforts and give these credibility,’’ he added.
No doubt, Jalgaon went through hell. And thanks to the untiring efforts of the DC, it achieved the level of normalcy which at one time seemed impossible.
END OF THE ARTICLE