Fever Survey Worker: Tackling the virus door by door

A briefing session for FSWs at Shenoy Nagar Park before they launch into different areas . Photos: R Ravindran  

Recently, around 10.45 p.m.,M. Prabhakaran received a call when he was about to sleep on the jute mat at his rented house on 10th Cross Street in TP Chatram near Kilpauk. A voice wailed seeking help. He knew the caller and the house; it was around 200 metres from his own. He rushed to attend to the man, who was with COVID-19 and in home isolation; he was complaining of breathlessness.

The patient was offered a glass of water. Before he could leave the house, Prabhakaran was thanked by the man’s daughter. Prabhakaran's mother, M. Manimegalai, was waiting for her son at the doorstep with a shawl around her shoulders. Both went to sleep past midnight that day.

Twenty-four-old Prabhakaran is not a medical doctor. He is a graduate in media and visual communications but his role as Fever Survey Worker (FSW) with the Greater Chennai Corporation is helping families infected with COVID get timely help and continual follow-ups.

GCC has many assigned many such young volunteers as FSWs in its 15 zones since March last year. Most of the FSWs, who worked last year with the civic body, rejoined to help the Corporation fight the second wave. “I hardly talk about my work with my mother as it may make her nervous. She always waits for me at the doorstep of our house with fresh clothes and a towel as I take a bath before entering my house after work,” says Prabhakaran.

Also known as Sector Health Worker (SHW), Fever Survey Workers are responsible for collecting data of residents — their name, age, gender, previous health records and phone numbers.

They enquire about the symptoms and rate them accordingly in the daily register. They are equipped with a thermal scanner and pulse oximeter to do door-to-door survey all days of the week. After the routine roll call at 7.30 a.m when they will receive a briefing by the respective Assistant Engineer (A.E), they carry out a field survey of the given set of streets till 2.30 p.m. They are in-charge of these streets till zero cases are reported there. On an average, each FSW is in-charge of at least four streets with around 200 families in the neighbourhood.

Each ward, on an average, has 60 such FSWs to monitor the health of residents, especially those on home isolation. The FSWs were paid ₹12,000 per month. “Anyone above the age of 18 years with a graduate degree can join as FSWs. The work of an FSW is rendered more as a public service than a mere job,” says S. Kalaiarasan, Assistant Engineer (A.E), Ward 102, Zone - 8 (Anna Nagar), Greater Chennai Corporation.

The FSWs also help organise Special Vaccination Camps including “spot vaccination” conducted at multi-storey apartment complexes and gated communities.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:19:13 PM |

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