“Female health volunteers, nurses, midwives, are at the ward level and they know exactly who is coming and going, and if they see someone with coronavirus symptoms, they can send the information up the system,” Sherpa explains.
This has been done before. Female volunteers administering Vitamin-A drops to children nationwide would send data to Kathmandu through their mobiles. They can do the same for COVID-19, but they first need to be given personal protection equipment.
“The volunteers would have all the information about where a suspected infected person lives, where they have travelled from and whom they have come in contact with, this is vital information in contact tracing,” says former director of the Health Services Department Gangaraj Aryal.
Female Community Health Volunteers have been credited with dramatically reducing Nepal’s child and infant mortality rates, and also in the rubella, measles and polio vaccination campaigns, contraception awareness, nutrition and Vitamin A programs.
Says Sunita Bhattarai of the Female Community Health Volunteers rights Protection Committee: “At a time of a pandemic like this, we are ready to provide the state all the help we can.”
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