Isolation centres coming up in tribal villages

The district administration, with the help of Gudalur-based Shola Trust will set up trial isolation centres made of wood from Lantana camara plants in tribal villages.

The centres are being set up as part of the continuing effort to dispel hesitancy among tribal communities to get tested for COVID-19 and to seek treatment.

According to NGOs as well as officials working in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks, tribal communities continue to show reluctance to getting tested for COVID-19. A few officials said that many members of the communities continue to flee to neighbouring villages when officials from the Health Department visit the area, as they fear that they will be taken to COVID-19 Care Centres and hospitals.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Supriya Sahu, Principal Secretary to the Tamil Nadu government, and Monitoring Officer for the Nilgiris, said that in order to make tribal communities feel more comfortable and less wary of getting tested, the isolation centres can be set up in the villages themselves. “One of the main reasons for their apprehension is the fear that they will be taken out of their villages and to hospitals and COVID-19 care facilities. We plan to set up the isolation centres within the villages, so that any person from the community who tests positive and whose symptoms are not serious, can be isolated in the village itself,” said Ms. Sahu.

The centres are to be made from the wood from Lantana camara plants, an invasive weed that has taken over large swathes of the Nilgiris.

Subhash Gautam, Managing Trustee of the Shola Trust, said that the shelters can be fabricated using steel frames and then covered with the wood, and finally finished off by plastering with either cow dung or lime to make them water-proof. Each isolation centre is around 200 square feet, and can be split into two rooms.

“We want to make sure that the isolation rooms can be of use even after the pandemic,” said Mr. Gautham.

An Eco Development Committee (EDC) run by the Gudalur forest division has agreed to fund the construction of two centres.

On Thursday, Nilgiris Collector J. Innocent Divya inspected the centres and gave the nod to set up centres in a few villages in Gudalur.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:37:14 AM |

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