Stepping Up Screening Through Fever Camps
The urban slum project of The George Institute for Global Health, India is a part of Uday program funded by the HCL Foundation. The project aims to improve the health of the marginalized people living in 10 urban slums of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. A key component of this project is to improve awareness about health and strengthen the health seeking behaviours in the community. A key activity includes conducting fever screening camps in the COVID-19 containment zones within the 10 communities. The plan is to conduct a total of 18 camps by mid of February 2021 with the support of the local government.
In these camps, patients with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are assessed by healthcare professionals and referred to the nearest Urban Primary Health Care (UPHC) COVID-19 testing centre. The project staff also collects demographic information during the screening along with height, weight, temperature, blood pressure and blood glucose. During the camps, people are also provided with information on safe hygiene practices like wearing facemasks properly, frequent handwashing, and maintaining physical distancing.
These fever camps aim to increase the access to COVID-19 testing and to enable early detection of COVID-19 patients. Early detection also helps in isolating people, preventing spread and providing them with proper diagnosis and treatment.
With the ease in lockdown norms, the fever camps are playing an important role to reduce the COVID-19 case load in the urban slums of Vijayawada. Additionally, these camps are also helping to reduce associated stigma about COVID-19 within the community.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh is providing the Institute with due support through its District Medical and Health Department. Dr. Suhasini, Krishna District Medical and Health Officer has extended her cooperation to support the fever screening camps. In addition to medical officers, ward secretariats and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers are helping with the fever camps and spreading COVID-19 awareness.
Till date 7 fever camps have been successfully organized. We screened 676 beneficiaries from 7 urban slums un the project. A total of 175 beneficiaries were identified with fever and influenza like symptoms and referred to concerned Urban Primary Health Centres.