Covid-19 in Bhopal: Documenting One Week’s Work

Photo by Biju Nair

With India still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, Community Health Workers from the Sambhavna clinic in Bhopal continue their campaign to safeguard survivors and other residents in local communities from the virus. The core of the campaign involves the recruiting and training of Community Health Volunteers from these local neighbourhoods. Volunteers receive basic medical training that includes taking temperature, blood pressure and pulse measurements, administering blood tests, and testing for malaria and jaundice. After receiving the training, they are sent out in teams into the communities to screen residents for Covid-19 symptoms, as well as carrying out poster and flyer campaigns to raise awareness and installing handwashing stations for public use.

A basic screening from a Community Health Volunteer involves the taking of an individual’s basic information including height, weight, age, and medical history. The volunteer then takes their temperature, pulse, and blood pressure readings. If the patient is running a high temperature or displaying other symptoms, a blood test is also taken and the patient is asked to self-isolate. If the patient is displaying severe respiratory issues or other complications from the virus, they are immediately referred to a local Covid-19 hospital ward for treatment. In neighbourhoods with high rates of malaria and jaundice tests are also administered for these, with patients testing positive admitted to Sambhavna for treatment.

Our Information Officer, Tabish Ali, has kindly recorded a full week of the campaign by these teams of Community Health Workers and Community Health Volunteers, with details of everything they have managed to accomplish over a 6 day period. Here is a breakdown of their work in the week of 14th September:

On 14th September, the following work took place in 4 communities:

  • 41 screenings were administered
  • 1 patient with jaundice was referred to Sambhavna
  • Medicines for existing health conditions were prescribed to to 23 people, ayurvedic medicines to 23 people, and herbal remedies to 18 people
  • 14 residents were taught home remedies to manage existing health conditions
  • A new team of Community Volunteers were trained to administer blood pressure tests and pulse oximetry tests at Sambhavna
  • A new team of Community Volunteers were trained in the properties and uses of herbal plants from Sambhavna’s garden
  • 20 local residents were educated on Coronavirus safety, including wearing masks, hand-washing and correct social distancing

Photo by Biju Nair

On September 15th, the following work took place in 5 communities:

  • 36 screenings were administered
  • 2 patients were referred to Sambhavna for treatment of existing health conditions
  • 2 patients were referred to hospitals for Covid-19 treatment
  • Medicines for existing health conditions were prescribed to to 18 people, ayurvedic medicines to 18 people, and herbal remedies to 18 people
  • 14 residents were taught home remedies to manage existing health conditions
  • 5 thermal screenings were administered to test for further symptoms
  • 1 pulse oximetry test was taken to test for further symptoms
  • 2 new Community Health Volunteers were trained to take blood pressure
  • Community Health Volunteers organised for the cleaning of drainage lines in the Nagar Nigam district
  • Community Health Volunteers held a meeting at Sambhavna on correct Coronavirus avoidance procedures
  • 3 local people in financial trouble were assisted with finding work

On September 16th, the following work work took place in 3 communities:

  • 21 screenings were administered
  • 1 patient was referred to Sambhavna for treatment of existing health conditions
  • Medicines for existing health conditions were prescribed to to 12 people, ayurvedic medicines to 10 people, and herbal remedies to 12 people
  • 12 residents were taught home remedies to manage existing health conditions
  • 23 blood pressure tests were administered
  • 9 thermal screenings were administered to test for further symptoms
  • 8 pulse oximetry test was taken to test for further symptoms
  • Community Health Volunteers in the Oriya Basti district made an application to drinking water suppliers to increase the local supply
  • Home made face coverings were created by staff st Sambhavna and distributed to Community Health Volunteers
  • One elderly resident facing destitution was referred to Sambhavna to receive counselling and financial aid

Photo by Biju Nair

On September 17th, one new community in the J.P. Nagar district was added to the campaign, with Community Health Volunteers undertaking the following work in the neighbourhood:

  • 120 posters with information on Coronavirus prevention were put up around the neighbourhood
  • 100 posters with advice for the Do’s and Don’ts regarding Covid-19 were put up
  • 110 local people were taught Coronavirus safety
  • 24 screenings were administered
  • 9 thermal screenings were administered to test for further symptoms
  • 8 pulse oximetry test was taken to test for further symptoms
  • 4 new Community Health Volunteers were recruited from the neighbourhood

On September 18th, the following work took place in 4 communities:

  • 40 screenings were administered
  • Medicines for existing health conditions were prescribed to to 10 people, ayurvedic medicines to 17 people, and herbal remedies to 9 people
  • 14 residents were taught home remedies to manage existing health conditions
  • 3 Community Health Volunteers were trained to administer blood pressure tests
  • 4 Community Health Volunteers were trained to take pulse oximetry tests
  • A campaign was launched in the Sundar Nagar neighbourhood to raise awareness of anaemia; 16 people were tested, 4 were positive and referred to Sambhavna for treatment

Photo by Biju Nair

On September 19th, the following work took place in 2 communities:

  • 20 screenings were administered
  • Medicines for existing health conditions were prescribed to to 6 people, ayurvedic medicines to 4 people, and herbal remedies to 10 people
  • 4 residents were taught home remedies to manage existing health conditions
  • 31 residents attended a workshop on the medicinal properties of herbs from Sambhavna’s garden
  • 4 locations in the Qazi Camp neighbourhood were identified and setup as locations for screenings and Community Health Volunteer meetings
  • 12 new Community Health Volunteers were recruited from local communities

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.