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Behave as if Covid positive

‘Care’ initiative by Mon district in Nagaland
A banner on display in Mon district.
A banner on display in Mon district.
Mon district administration

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 18.07.20, 03:49 AM

Nagaland’s Mon district is “treating” its 2.8 lakh-plus population as asymptomatic Covid-19 patients till a cure is found to check the spread of the virus that has till now infected 83 persons.

The Mon administration has launched the Covid-19 Adaptive Response (CARE) initiative under which the people of the district have been requested to consider themselves as an asymptomatic Covid positive person and behave accordingly so as not to infect others at home or outside.

Mon DC Thavaseelan K. told The Telegraph that CARE is an innovative strategy to fight the pandemic. The basic idea behind the initiative is to bring about a change in behaviour by increasing awareness and removing myths among people.

The response to CARE so far has been encouraging.

“Care is about adapting to the new reality and new normal in a post-Covid world. This model tries to onboard each and every citizen of Mon district in fight against Covid-19. If we start considering ourselves as positive cases, we will adopt to the new way of life — maintaining social distancing, frequently washing our hands and other such dos and don’ts to check the spread of the virus,” Thavaseelan said.

This model is using extensive training of government employees and the public, awareness level tests among the masses, banners and posters, focussed group discussion in addition to extensive use of social media for spreading the message.

The idea for CARE, launched on July 14, came up during discussions at a Mon district Covid task force meeting. The Covid-19 task forces at the district, sub-division and village levels are monitoring the implementation of the initiative.

“The task force has members from the district administration, civil society organisations, village level functionaries and the Church. It is important for everyone to join the fight. We are not aware as of now of any other district doing this in Nagaland. We have heard of a similar thing being done in Meghalaya but the model seems to be different,” the DC said.

The district administration is working closely with the Konyak organisations. The Konyaks make up at least 97 per cent of the district’s population, which according to the 2011 census was 2.5 lakh. The population will be over 2.8 lakh today.

“Konyak bodies will be playing an important role in implementation of this model. They would help to reach every household of every village and to train them. The training material also involves changes in customary practices related to marriages and funerals and is being created in consultation with Konyak bodies, especially the Konyak Union,” the official said.

Mon was under lockdown till July 14. Now the lockdown has been lifted but with strict guidelines.

“Covid has no treatment as of now and is here to stay. Lockdown is not a permanent solution. Movement of people would increase after unlock because health and livelihood has to go hand in hand. Since the virus has high transmissibility, it is important to adapt to the new normal for the safety of all,” Thavaseelan said.

Like Mon, Kohima district is also innovating. It is using drones to drop items such as PPE kits, facemasks to Covid Care Centres and Covid Hospital in nearby areas.

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