Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic by Rural Local Self-Governments of Odisha
Keywords:Pandemic, Quarantine, Physical Distancing.
AbstractOdisha, a State vulnerable to natural disasters, is located on the eastern coast of India. The State also experienced COVID-19 pandemic which affected all parts of the globe. The study has been undertaken to assess the coping mechanism adopted by the State to address COVID-19 pandemic situation considering its poor public health system. The role of rural local self-governments in managing the pandemic situation has also been analysed during the study. The study is based on the analysis of secondary data available from COVID-19 dashboard of Government of Odisha, circulars webhosted by State in the public domain and findings of focus group discussions organised with the multiple stakeholders associated in managing the COVID-19 situation. After a detailed research on COVID-19 management in Odisha, the study concludes that multipronged strategies of State like enforcing early lockdown, establishing dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, temporary medical camps to look after large influx of migrants and decentralised management of pandemic by the rural local self-governments are major contributing factors in managing the situation effectively. Gram Panchayats of Odisha also experienced multiple challenges in dealing with the pandemic situation due to desperate return of a large number of migrants, surveillance of the suspected COVID-19 cases, and arranging facilities for quarantine and food during the period of institutional isolation. The study recommends to strengthen the comprehensive primary healthcare at Gram Panchayat level with due attention to the preventive measures, livelihood security of rural poor and decentralised management of the pandemic at the local level.
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