WHO praises Odisha’s fight against COVID-19

Bhubaneswar: The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the Odisha Government’s effective governance and community-based strategies in the fight against COVID-19.

The UN agency has highlighted the early containment measures, dedicated COVID hospitals, ramped up testing and decentralised management of the pandemic through gram panchayats in the state.

The state was the first in the country to initiate strict measures. The Chief Minister ordered an immediate closure of many public places on March 13, even though the state had not reported a single case of COVID-19. When the first case was reported on March 15, the state control rooms had been made operational; and capacity building of the district level health officials on preparedness and response activities, and public awareness campaigns on handwashing and respiratory etiquettes were already initiated, the WHO said.

The state was the first to establish one of the country’s biggest 1000-bedded dedicated COVID hospital in a record time of just one week.  Besides, 30 dedicated district COVID hospitals (DCH) were set up in all districts.

The health facilities were independently assessed by the WHO and UN teams, and the findings were shared with the state authorities. Best performing COVID hospitals like Ashwini COVID hospital, Cuttack were recognized for their state-of-art quality of care.

The state also witnessed a huge influx of migrants. To manage this, the government adopted multi-pronged approaches such as monitoring of migrant’s movement, issue of online e-pass, contact tracing, provision of food and accommodation, monitoring health and adherence to safety measures, etc. Temporary medical camps (TMCs) that also served as quarantine centers were set up to accommodate the migrants.

Early lockdown, setting up the country’s first dedicated COVID-19 hospital, the temporary medical camps to manage the huge influx of migrants, multisectoral collaboration, community-based disaster management, community engagement and mentoring support programs are some of the key takeaways of the Odisha’s response strategy that have contributed to Odisha’s success in tackling the pandemic, the WHO said.

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