COVID-19: Dormant Ward DETER Committees to be reactivated in Bengaluru

Senior BBMP officials admitted that a few WDCs had not even met to discuss ward-level plans for COVID-19 management after they were constituted.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

The civic body is set to reactivate the Ward Decentralised Triage and Emergency Response (DETER) Committees for COVID-19 management. They had been constituted during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic for decentralised management, but barring a few most have become dormant.

Senior officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) admitted that a few WDCs had not even met to discuss ward-level plans for COVID-19 management after they were constituted. With the outbreak of a third wave predicted in six to eight weeks, civic officials and civil society organisations have underscored the need to reactivate these committees.

While there is no data readily available on the number of active WDCs, anecdotal evidence suggests the number is a low 20 of the total 198 committees constituted.

Sapna Karim, head of civic participation, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, said the active WDCs were driven by adept nodal officers working closely with volunteers. “It is important to strengthen this system to ramp up vaccination. With the caseload decreasing, this is the right time for capacity building and strengthening WDCs.”

The WDC in Doddanekundi ward is one of the few that are active. Volunteers and members, who are also part of the ward committee, continue to closely monitor COVID-19 patients under home isolation and coordinate with the six testing teams deputed to different colonies and slum pockets in the ward.

But that is not enough, according to urban expert Kathyayini Chamaraj from CIVIC. She said the committees should ideally work on four major roles — preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. “These committees are only active in the response role, ignoring the other three major roles. The WDCs should not be disbanded and should be constituted as and when the need arises,” she said.

Concurring with civic experts, BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) D. Randeep told The Hindu that over the next two weeks, nodal officials would be directed to reactivate these WDCs. Committee members would also be directed to work with primary health centres and physical triage centres. “This way, there will be complete ownership of decentralised COVID-19 management at the ward level,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 5:10:38 AM |

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