Hyderabad: The Telangana government’s initiatives on public health appear to have been more effective in combating the coronavirus in rural Telangana than in the state capital.
In 10-day period beginning June 17, Telangana districts excluding Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medchal-Malkajgiri recorded 426 cases, though some of them have large towns such as Warangal and Karimnagar as well. That's a much smaller number than the 6,517 cases recorded by Hyderabad and the two contiguous semi-urban districts of Ranga Reddy and Medchal-Malkajgiri.
Two-thirds of Telangana 's approximately 3.5 plus crore population lives in rural areas.
The difference in the prevalence of Covid-19 cases makes a strong case for strengthening panchayat-raj-based village development organisations and systems. “Urban areas need a similar structure and investing in such bodies is vital in the long run,” said Dr G.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, director of the Indian Institute of Public Health.
“In a village, the word of the panchayat counts. There is social pressure on everyone to follow instructions. This is absent in the urban areas. A sense of ownership is critical for fighting this pandemic,” Dr Murthy told Deccan Chronicle.
In addition to follow-the-rules approach in rural areas, programmes such as Palle Pragati, again led by village panchayats, have contributed to the people in 12,751 gram panchayats making public hygiene and neighbourhood cleanliness a part of their lives.
Healthcare programmes such as Kanti Velugu, Arogya Lakshmi and KCR Kits, have contributed to an increased awareness of health-related issues. “These programmes contributed enormously in creating awareness of health,” health minister Etala Rajendar said.
Kanti Velugu saw nearly 1.5 crore people getting their eyes screened, while more than 30 lakh plus women have registered to deliver babies at government hospital since the launch of KCR Kits.
When cases of COVID-19 began appearing in villages, residents decided to impose their own lockdowns and quarantining before official orders for imposition of such restrictions were announced, Rajendar said, which too helped in controlling the spread of the disease in rural areas....