Good things come in small packages – is a clichéd expression, the new reality being – good things often come from small entities. In recent times this reality has been emphatically brought home by Meghalaya – the tiny hilly state of north-eastern India.
Popularly called the Scotland of the East and famous for its matrilineal system, Meghalaya which means abode of cloud is now being projected as a model state for coronavirus management. As cases continue to rise exponentially in the country crossing 1 lakh-mark in May, Meghalaya is setting an example by containing the spread and restricting the numbers of cases to a trifling 46, and that of fatality to one! 41affected individuals have recovered from the infection and the state tally now stands at a mere 4 active cases. However 4 of them have already tested negative and have recovered.
The success story begins much before the first outbreak in the state on April 13. Meghalaya (pop. nearly 30,00000) was the first state to implement lockdown (much before the government’s decision of nation-wide lockdown) and did so with zero Covid19 cases registered. Incidentally, faced with a severe law and order situation, Meghalaya had to impose curfew and prohibitory orders on several occasions since December. This apparently uncomfortable situation turned out to be a boon while battling the coronavirus, as the state only had to prolong the ongoing restrictions. The series of lockdowns since March has been largely instrumental in the state’s success at keeping a check on virus spread. To strengthen the efforts further, highly motivated COVID-management teams were put in place. Over 7000 COVID management community committee members are also spread across the rural and urban areas.
Recognising this commendable success, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded the state government on efficient handling of the pandemic. As a practice, the country takes the cake in such instances of achievement. But, in a delightful digression, this time WHO recognised Meghalaya as an individual state for effectively controlling Covid19.
According to Dr N Roy, Surveillance Medical Officer (WHO) Meghalaya can be a learning model for India in effective community-led management of the pandemic. “In its fight against the virus, Meghalaya has learnt that community ownership can be a game-changer whereby every individual takes the responsibility of self-health. This is a highly significant fact given that today India is facing the threat of community transmission,” added Dr. Roy
Ask anyone in the state, the secret behind the success and pat comes the reply – ‘We did it by complete cooperation between community and administration.’ To be precise, the strict handling of returnees and overall vigilance on observing standard health protocols – made all the difference. Mention must be made of state Health Minister AL Hek, who ensured no single individual enters the state without a medical test.
Speaking to our correspondent minister Hek said, “Appreciation from WHO is highly motivating. We are fighting an epic battle together. Be it COVID volunteers, health workers, institutions or durbar shnong – the team spirit is commendable. Credit also goes to our people for being responsible citizens.”
According to available data, all the 18 thousand post-lockdown-entries to the state underwent a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Tested negative, they went for 28 days of quarantine including 14 days of self-observation.
“We have put a ban on private vehicles from outside and are monitoring each and every entry to the state. Checkpoints are in place at the railway station as well as at the airport. The returnees self-register at these makeshift offices and follow all health protocols before making their way to the state. To ensure zero-gap in the process, the state govt has organized vehicles for the returnees to be picked up from the airport or railway station,” enumerates Hek.
Keep up the good job Meghalaya! More power to you!
Featured image courtesy : Google