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Door-to-door survey takes backseat before takeoff

New Delhi: The door-to-door Covid survey aiming to cover 45 lakh households in Delhi by July 6 is yet to take off properly four days after it started. With district officials still awaiting a detailed standard operating procedures (SOP), it appears impossible that the mammoth exercise will be completed over the next one week alongside the concurrent serological survey in containment zones.

The door-to-door survey made a slow start on Friday in Central, East, North and New Delhi districts on Friday. Union home minister Amit Shah had asked for the survey to be carried out to identify suspect Covid cases and their testing. The survey was proposed in a joint meeting of Delhi and central government on June 21.

District officials have deployed survey teams comprising domestic mosquito breeding checkers, and sanitation and ASHA workers. “The door-to-door survey was carried out in a few areas where the teams noted down details of family members, their travel details, co-morbidities present and if anyone of them had flu-like symptoms,” a Delhi government official said on Monday. “We were expecting to receive resources, guidelines and SOP from the Centre, but are awaiting directives. For instance, what is the procedure to be followed if the teams detect anyone with severe Covid symptoms?”

It is likely that the survey will take a backseat with the priority now on screening in containment zones and collecting of 20,000 blood samples by July 10 for the serological survey. “We have been carrying out regular surveys in containment zones and have teams for that task. The same teams have been asked to collect household details as directed by the Union home ministry,” said a Central district official.

Residents’ welfare associations across the city reported no door-to-door survey in their areas, apart from the containment zones. B S Vohra, president, East Delhi RWAs, said that he was asked questions by a surveyor over phone, who also wanted to know if someone in his family had flu-like symptoms. “Why would any resident allow survey teams to enter their houses and why would people reveal information about symptoms when there panic and social stigma attached to Covid-19?” he asked.

Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary, Delhi RWA Joint Front, revealed that the survey hadn’t started in Safdarjung Enclave and nearby areas. “I think it makes more sense to conduct a thorough survey in containment zones and buffer areas than across the city, which would be a mere formality on paper with no authentic data because there isn’t the required manpower to complete such a massive exercise in such a short time,” said Agarwal, adding that the state government should involve RWAs in the process and carry out random audits of survey findings to ensure authenticity.

While Atul Goyal, president, United Residents Joint Action, said the survey period was too short to cover every family in Delhi, Sudha Sinha, president, Dwarka CGHS Federation, said her colony had seen no survey, except in the containment zones. “I doubt the government has the infrastructure and manpower for carrying out such a survey,” she said. “People so scared, they don’t want to allow other into their residences or talk about Covid-19.” She, however said, it was a good step and the federation was ready to help the government, but “Delhi government needs to first educate people”.

News Courtesy:ET Healthworld

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