As soon as the index case was reported in Meghalaya, ASHAs and ASHA facilitators were trained to become an integral part of the Active Case Search Team in the identified Containment Areas. One of the confirmed cases was identified from Mawtharia Pomlakarai village with over 70 households, located 12 kms from the state capital Shillong. Soon the Community COVID Management Committee was constituted in the village with the ASHA S. Kurkalang devi as a key member.
Her role was vital in identification of about 35 primary contacts in the village. When the other community members were advised home quarantine by the COVID Committee, she counselled them regarding the protocols to be followed in home quarantine, and visited the homes regularly to follow up on their medical and other needs.
Along with the village volunteers, she supported the village members for providing essential commodities like ration and drinking water to the households. She also continued her follow-up and healthcare service delivery to homes with newborns, pregnant women, elderly and known patients of Tuberculosis, Hypertension and Diabetes. She facilitated institutional delivery and mobilized the villagers for timely immunization of pregnant women and children. With the support from the fellow community members, she continued performing all her routine tasks while simultaneously taking on additional tasks related to COVID-19. This ensured that access to non-COVID essential health services was not disrupted.
Due to the joint efforts of the community and ASHA, today Pomlakarai village is COVID-19 free.
The frontline workers of Meghalaya have been instrumental in containing spread of this disease. The State’s fight against COVID-19 has demonstrated the strong embeddedness of ASHAs within the communities. At all levels, about 6700 ASHAs were made part of COVID Village Health Awareness and Active Case Search teams in the Containment Areas. The teams raised community awareness about preventive measures against COVID-19 such as hand washing, wearing masks/face covers, maintaining physical distance etc. Through active case search they have also facilitated timely access to testing and treatment.