Andhra Pradesh: Ward volunteer, secretariat system fails to identify siblings in distress

‘It is surprising that the neighbours and the health staff on COVID-19 duty could not reach out to them’

September 18, 2022 10:02 pm | Updated 10:02 pm IST - ANANTAPUR

The three siblings of Ward No. 8 in the city, who have locked themselves up for more than two years in their own house following the death of their parents, is a classic case of the failure of the ward volunteers and ward secretariat system in the area.

At least two volunteers who worked in the locality and who should have been in touch with the residents of the 50 households under their jurisdiction, have failed to identify that the siblings have gone into depression and are staying away from the neighbours.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the volunteers, the health staff and the secretariat staff, including the Mahila Police, should have been in a position to identify the plight of the siblings and reported the matter to to the higher-ups.

The volunteer, or a member of the ward secretariat is expected to contact each household for a minimum of two times in a month.

The present ward volunteer, Hemanth, during his four months of service in the ward, was in touch with the male sibling. However, upon sensing that some bad smell was emanating from the house, he reported the matter to the authorities concerned.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Arla Srinivasulu had taken the initiative to offer the three siblings new clothes, food and other essential goods. He also counselled them on Saturday night.

On Sunday, when Mr. Srinivasulu visited them, the siblings recognised him and promised to improve their living conditions.

“They do not have any financial problems. They lacked counselling and handholding,” said.

“It is surprising that their condition could not be identified by the neighbours, the secretariat staff, or the health personnel for more than one year of the pandemic and lockdown,” he added.

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