The health team of Ambuja Cement Foundation has been at the forefront during this critical time in creating awareness about COVID19 in our core villages - conducting a variety of activities to educate villagers. Demonstration of hand washing techniques, social distancing, distribution of 7088 soaps and sanitizers and awareness creation through Information, Education or Communication materials (82,400 pamphlets distributed, 274 wall paintings and set up of village posters and banners) has been undertaken.
Village Health Functionaries, which include our Sakhis, are playing an essential role at the village level to avoid the spread and restrict entry of the virus into the core locations. Thousands of pamphlets were distributed to families coming from other states into the villages, bottles of hand-wash were provided with training on hand washing done in the community, and Sakhis are moving door to door educating on social distancing and providing awareness about the importance of hand washing across our locations.
In early March, a week-long schedule was planned in Darlaghat, Himchal Pradesh where Neem Soap Handwashing Techniques were demonstrated in 30 project villages. All Anganwadi centres, schools, peer groups, pregnant and lactating women have been educated on these techniques.
Our village health functionaries have been teaching people how to maintain social distancing by drawing circles, appropriately distanced, outside shops and common areas. Pamphlets are being distributed through Sakhis, BCI volunteers, SEDI students and Panchayat Health Centres.
Health Volunteers have also pasted Awareness Banners and Posters in villages to educate people on techniques to be used and made aware about social distancing. Leaflets have also been distributed on a home to home basis and also at places near market areas, petrol pumps and in Ambuja Cement Limited campus areas. Along with mask distributions, mobile vans announcing messages and creating awareness has also been carried out.
One member from each SHG Group is circulating emergency numbers of the local health authorities to each member in case of any health issues or suspected cases. This is then made aware to non-members through SMS or leaflets being distributed in the villages.
In Nalagarh, awareness program on Coronavirus was conducted during the initial period with the truckers and the community around. This has led to the administration of the trucker's union to create a resting place which includes over 100 beds and food supplies for those truckers and their families held-up in the vicinity.
The village health functionaries are putting in maximum effort along with the local health authorities to restrict the entry of this virus into the villages and carry out extreme interventions amongst the villagers.
ACF had carried out a few of the above initiatives through field teams and grassroots community volunteers. Even after lockdown, the ACF team is continuing to create awareness by sending informative messages through mobile messaging platforms like WhatsApp and on digital platforms. These messages are sent to beneficiaries like the 2 lakh farmers in the Agro Based Livelihood Program, 26000 women in Self-Help Groups/Federations etc.
Additionally, ACF is currently mapping testing, isolation wards and treatment centres in the location areas in case a need arises and will inform villagers through mobile messaging systems and posters in villages.
ACF is also further engaging with District Health Officers/Local Government Authorities to understand the need and wherever help is needed. For instance, for those who are daily wage workers/labourers in the village with no current source of income, ACF is supporting by providing ration kits as well as educating them about government schemes available that will provide food grains to all under the PDS (Public Distribution System) for 3 months.