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Sero-Surveillance Starting from Today in 11 Most COVID-19 Affected Districts of UP: Says UP Health Minister

The lengthening curve of COVID-19 across the country doesn’t seem to flatten. While Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of the country, has registered over 2, 41,000 COVID-19 cases, 1, 81,000 recovery and over 3600 deaths so far. But how the government of the state has been tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and what are the current and upcoming strategies in this context, are something worthy to know. All these aspects were brought out during Episode-6 of the HEAL-Thy Samvaad, organised by the ‘Healthcare Advocacy Group’ — HEAL Foundation in association with ICCIDD on 3rd Sept’ 2020.

To tackle the situation with due deliberation, and to assess the spread of the pandemic and to be able to control it, the Health Department of UP govt. is all set to conduct sero-surveillance in the 11 most COVID-19 affected districts of the state from today onwards. Sero surveillance is a globally used and trusted standard which measures the levels of antibodies against a certain infection and decodes the percentage of the population which has been previously exposed to the virus. It also helps understand better that what proportion of the population has COVID-19 antibodies and to identify hotspots and high-risk groups.

When asked about the role of Team-11 constituted by the CM to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing the HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Episode-6, Shri Jai Pratap Singh, Minister of Medical & Health, Family welfare, Mother & Child Welfare, UP, said, “Team-11 is made up of 11 different committees with respective roles and responsibilities to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Team consists of different departments such as Health, Gram Panchayat, Nagar Panchayat, Revenue, Agriculture, Industry, MSME, Animal Husbandry etc. The govt. high officials like the Chief Secretary and the DGP of the state are also the part of the Team. The team is supposed to work on all the fronts to tackle the upsurge of COVID-19 ranging from testing, care, and relief-providing activities to the submission of the report on a daily basis, which the CM reviews and monitors himself. The Team-11 has been doing a wonderful job.”

Talking about the current status of the pandemic and the state govt.’s strategy, the Health Minister said, “We have redefined the testing ecosystem as the no of tests being conducted per day is 1, 50,000. Likewise, to scan the minutest details of the upsurge and to curb the increasing curve, we are going to start Sero-surveillance in 11 most COVID-19 affected districts of the state.”

Emphasising the need to build strong healthcare infrastructure in the country, the Health Minister added, “The greatest learning from COVID-19 is to have a well-designed healthcare infrastructure in place. Besides opening new hospitals, we need to revamp our existing facilities by deploying qualified doctors, installing modern machines for treatment at par with that of the private ones. Now, the ratio of public & private facilities in treating the patients is 30% & 70% respectively. We have got good support from the central govt. in COVID times, and we are going to establish labs in every district. Ayushman Bharat card is also helping people in their treatment.”

Speaking at HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Episode-6, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Foundation said, “The overall monitoring under Team-11 is going good in UP as they have been successful in dealing with 32 lakh migrant workers who have come back in UP in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The Teams have used all the means properly referring to customised treatments — such as to someone with mild symptoms — they have been sent to Home Isolation care rather than hospitals. They have been dealing with the situation pragmatically.”  

Moderating the HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Episode-6, Mr Shankar Raj, President, HEAL Foundation said, “The most populous state of the country UP has the fatality rate of 1.58%, which is lower than that of the national fatality rate 1.87% during COVID-19 despite large number of migrants coming back to the state. It is perhaps due to the meticulous system put in place by the state govt. to tackle the pandemic prudently.”

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