COVID-19 | Community Intervention Project
Several months into the COVID-19 crisis, India remains in lockdown and case fatalities continue to rise. Blossom Trust has been part of the frontline response, trying to curb the threat of community spread.
Tamil Nadu now has 269,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 (6th Aug 2020), with around 5000 new cases per day. While health authorities are working round the clock to document and treat patients, there is serious concern that community transmission is contributing to the unabating case numbers: meaning that individuals who have not had any reported contact with infected people are being found to be positive. Coordinated action is required from NGOs, civil societies and the government to trace, treat and contain the spread of the coronavirus.
This is where Blossom comes in: as a community-based NGO, we are able to leverage our extensive experience in outreach to address immediate public health needs. As Chennai was found to be an early epicentre of COVID-19, Blossom Trust has been allocated Zone 12 for the ‘Community Intervention Project’ in partnership with the Health Department of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC).
During this project, our team has been conducting door-to-door outreach: risk profiling households, identifying people who are presenting with symptoms of COVID-19, and referring symptomatic people to the local Primary Healthcare Centre for testing and treatment. With regular visits, our Outreach Workers (ORW) are then able to monitor the isolation of infected households, preventing further spread between households.
Misinformation and fear has generated stigma against COVID-19 positive patients, which can prevent people from accessing essential testing. To address the stigma and to encourage safe practices within communities, the team have also been conducting ‘Interpersonal Communication Sessions’. This is to disseminate key hygiene messages, and to reinforce the principles of distancing and masking in a way that is both informative and reassuring - including do-as-I-do demonstrations for correct hand washing practices.
In the past, Blossom has worked with individuals suffering from HIV/AIDs, families with TB, or diabetic persons. In times of COVID-19, these chronic conditions make individuals more susceptible to the serious systemic complications. With this being the case, our team is making particular efforts to offer targeted advice to vulnerable individuals: most recently, our OWR visited a diabetic patient to give instructions and tips for control of diabetes and raise awareness of COVID spread in the Gandhi Salai neighbourhood.
With COVID-19 showing no sign of slowing, Blossom Trust will continue to work tirelessly to support our vulnerable communities, supporting the Government through infection prevention and control (IPC) measures and surveillance in the Chennai Area. Through coordinated action and collective effort, we will turn the tide on the pandemic.
Project date: April 2020 (ongoing)