COVID-19 preparedness in rural settings

Preparedness checklist for rural primary health care settings

When the COVID-19 pandemic was threatening to become a global pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, there was widespread denial of its possible impact in India. On one hand there was this endless and unhelpful speculation on whether community transmission phase of the pandemic had begun in India or not. This was despite the fact that WHO and leading epidemiologists were pointing out that the then known epidemiology of COVID-19 specifically, and viruses in general indicated that even if this was not happening at that specific instance, community transmission of a virus such as COVID-19 was inevitable. Since most of the resources at the time were focused on large cities, some of us came together under the banner of COVID-19-PHC Action Group.

Primary health centres (PHCs) are the bedrock of a decentralised community-based health service. They are the nodal centres from which the public health services in India is able to reach out to and ensure curative, preventive, rehabilitative and health promotion services across the country. At the time, the coverage of the pandemic was largely limited to urban and peri-urban outbreaks.

Use with caution as material in this checklist has not been updated since the first wave of COVID that hit India in (probably) March 2020

Based on a crowd-sourcing/email call for collaboration, a bunch of public health professionals, doctors and academia collaborated

Visit the COVID-19 resources page of Institute of Public Health Bengaluru for the checklist in various other Indian languages (Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Tamil).

A group led by AddressHealth has adapted this checklist for school settings in India. Their checklist is available for download here.

The Fountain Ink magazine covered the making of the checklist and the general COVID-19 scenario at the time is described there.

The rural version of the checklist was launched on April 3, 2020.


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