Srinagar: On orders issued by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Pole, doctors and health workers have started a massive door-to-door survey of “every house in Kashmir” to identify people with fever, flu or other symptoms of Covid-19.
Pole had directed the health department to survey every house in Kashmir starting with 77 Red Zones and the buffer zones that lie in a 3-km radius around them.
To carry out this mammoth survey, the health department has divided every district into clusters of 50 houses each. Each cluster would be surveyed by health department workers, said a doctor who is in charge of a district.
The surveillance is the first of its kind in India as it aims at covering the entire population of a region, the doctor said.
The health department has already formed more than 4,500 teams in Kashmir for this purpose. The teams comprise doctors, paramedics, healthcare workers and employees of the social welfare department.
“The teams have been directed to visit every house and collect samples of persons with flu and Covid-19 symptoms,” said a senior health official.
“Initially, the survey will cover red zones and buffer zones to trace people with travel history, history of contact with Covid-19 positive patients, and those having any Covid-19 symptoms,” he said.
The divisional commissioner has asked the tehsil and district level officers to monitor the progress of the survey on daily basis.
“Each team has five members and will cover 50 houses everyday for Covid-19 suspects. The swab samples will be collected and sent for testing the next day, so that the patients are located and treated immediately,” said an epidemiologist working with the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK).
The Jammu and Kashmir government has already set up strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) for designated 77 red zones which are significantly hit by the novel coronavirus. These zones have been completely sealed with people neither allowed in nor out of the designated boundaries.
Dr Manzoor Kadri, officer in charge of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), told Kashmir Reader that the health department has already collected 1,911 samples through door-to-door survey, contributing to the total 5,000 samples collected so far in Kashmir division.
“The surveillance is the strongest tool in our hands to fight the coronavirus, because there is no treatment for it. It can help break the chain of infection and prevent community transmission,” Dr Kadri said.