Bhubaneswar: In view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the capital city, the civic authorities here have decided to rope in peer leaders of Socially Smart Project of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) as Covid Sachetakas, to increase awareness among people.
Peer leaders of the BSCL’s project are youths that are involved in community development, largely in slum areas. A collaborative initiative of BMC, BSCL and United Nations Population Fund and the peer leader development has been operational since 2017. A two-day training by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and doctors for these leaders at Saheed Nagar Kalyan Mandap concluded Saturday.
“The BMC has decided to involve these peer leaders in helping our fight against the pandemic. Their job will involve going door to door and educate people about social distancing, hand hygiene and symptoms of COVID. They will also work to identify people with probable symptoms of Covid and inform ZCO and other officials for further support,” informed BMC Commissioner, Prem Chandra Chaudhary. Sources at the BMC said the civic authority’s move to rope in extra hands has come in the wake of the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the city. The total Covid cases in the city currently stand at 283. They included 148 recoveries and 131 active cases while three deaths were reported.
Moreover, a few of these cases have now started to come out of slums where potential outbreak is possible owing to poor social distancing. As many as four cases have been reported from Laxmi Bazaar slum in the city with two females, aged 31 and 38 years, testing positive for Coronavirus apart from two males aged 50 and 18. All of them are linked to an earlier-reported positive case.
With an aim to help the authorities efficiently battle against COVID-19, Deepanjali Swain, a trainee, of Jagannath Basti Press Colony, said, “It is a unique opportunity to contain the spread of virus at our community level. People in our slums are not very careful and can be seen playing cards in groups. Many of them also do not use masks. We will form a group and move from house to house and create awareness on the various aspects of the pandemic.”