A representation by Guman Singh, Coordinator, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh, and signed by Kulbhushan Upmanyu, Sandeep Minhas, RS Negi, Vishal Deep and Rajnder Chauhan to the state chief minister regarding the pandemic due to Corona Virus:
We the people of Himachal Pradesh welcome the measures undertaken by the state Government to prevent this pandemic. The surveillance and identification of the infected, suspected is very well taken by the district administration under your directions.
As per the World Health organizations the virus may spread fast if appropriate measures by the government and general public not taken. Further it is also suggested that the only lock down is not enough to stop the virus but identification of infected, isolation, personal protection and treatment needs to be done fast, till the treatment of infected, general public is always at a threat of infection.
It is established that virus only travel through the human body. Thus, to keep the human body virus free World health Organization released various directions from time to time. The most important is; the use of Personal Protection equipment (PPE). Although in the category of PPE various equipment are listed but at large two equipment are at least essential for each human i.e. surgical Mask and (N-95 mask for health workers), Soaps or Sanitizers.
Masks are needed on a very large scale to ensure that each individual has at least two to three masks. To produce such a large number of masks at a very less time, is possible only engaging various actors at grass root levels (such as Local self-governments, Self-Help Groups, Mahila Mandals), by providing them the design. The role of relevant activists of social and political organizations, Volunteers and NGOs, community leaders, retired heath department staff, trained paramedical, is needed also to be realized.
Activists of social and political organizations, business organizations, volunteers and NGOs and community leaders may support the government in enhancing the reach of the PPE to general public through coordinating by phone or other media, engaging various actors for spreading the messages and ensuring the reach of each individuals to PPE though social distancing at village level.
Retired heath workers, doctors, trained paramedical, nurses, may be engaged at various level for giving the appropriate health advisories and treatment at village level so that the minimum health facilities may be guaranteed at village level to stop the flow to hospitals. Aanganwadi centers may be utilized for such services.
I have discussion with you on telephone on this matter dated 24th March. I told you that we are going to distribute mask in memory of my son Robin, who passed away on 17th March, instead of spending money to rituals.
We have designed and are distributing 2000 mask with the help of Himalaya Niti Abhiyan Network organization Sahara at Banjar, Kullu. One Mask is costing us nearly Rs.7 which can be easily stitched by any tailor or person who have swing machine. Mahila Mandals/SHGs can do better.
We also talked some of the companies for supplying ethanol and aloe vera gel but they all are now out of stocks. So soap is the only solution, it is more effective if used with warm water (see an article “Why soap, sanitizer and warm water work against Covid-19 and other viruses” by Sandee LaMotte, CNN).
Panchayti Raj department has taken good step by issuing directions to Gram Panchayats for providing mask and sanitizer to all but unavailability of supply is big hurdle. I had discussion with Mr. Keval Sharma director Panchati Raj and many other concerned/ social activists too in this regards.
We suggest that that masks can be provided easily to all with minimal cost and effort. (Photo attached) Soap is available and within the approach of everybody. Secondly there may be many poor daily breadwinners, outsider workers and local too, which need immediate help of food and shelter at many places in the state.
So local level initiatives with the help of all above mentioned concerned and government agencies can play vital role at this juncture. We shall organize them a local level and involve them in the process.
Himalaya Niti Abhiyan is volunteering our services when and where required by the government in this pandemic situation. Kindly give direction to district official to contact us if needed.