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‘COVID Bandhus’ of Odisha’s Ganjam provide succour in fight against virus

A medical official collects swab from a kid at a temporary Covid-19 testing centre in Bhubaneswar on August 10, 2020.

A medical official collects swab from a kid at a temporary Covid-19 testing centre in Bhubaneswar on August 10, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Aug 11 (PTI) Around 700 people who recovered from COVID-19 in Odisha’s Ganjam district have come forward to assist the administration in persuading symptomatic people to go for testing and also helping them with counselling to drive out the anxieties related to coronavirus, officials said on Tuesday.

Ganjam, considered the coronavirus hotspot in the state as it has reported over 13,000 cases, launched a programme named ‘COVID Bandhu’ to rope in those who have recovered, they said.

Around 700 people have registered their names and many of them are already on the field, motivating people to go for testing, said project director of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Sidharth Shankar Swain.

Mr. Swain, the nodal officer on COVID-19 management in the district, said the ‘COVID Bandhus (friends)’ are on a mission to build confidence among the people to fight against the deadly virus.

They have fanned out across the district to work among the people, he said.

Amulya Upadhaya of Bhetanai village in Aska block said some shopkeepers, suspected as silent spreaders of the virus, were reluctant to go for testing.

But I explained to them about my experience, following which they went for testing, he said.

We have conducted at least three meetings in the village followed by the swab tests of the shopkeepers after I came out from the home isolation, he said.

The ‘COVID Bandhus’ have been campaigning and creating awareness among the people by narrating their experiences, said K. Durga Prasad Rao, the sarpanch of Badakhandi in Hinjili block.

After completing home isolation two days ago, I motivated the people to come forward for swab sample tests in our village and nearby villages, said N. Dambaru Reddy of Kotharsing in Rangeilunda block.

Santoshini Mohanty of Kanchuru village of Hinjili block said, “We reached out to the people, especially to the women over phone and social media, asking them to go for early testing without any fear.”

Ganjam’s collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said more people were coming forward for swab tests now due to the work being done by the ‘COVID Bandhus’.

“They reach out to the people, explain their experiences as a patient. They also conduct counselling to the suspected people and remove fear from their minds, the collector said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 11:03:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-bandhus-of-odishas-ganjam-provide-succour-in-fight-against-virus/article32324292.ece

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