Rajasthan’s Bhilwara could have become the corona epicentre for the country had it not followed a stringent strategy, courtesy to IAS officer Tina Dabi and her pro-active team. The district reported its first case on March 19 and Rajendra Bhatt, the district collector declared a shutdown on March 21 even before the government announced the official nation-wide lockdown. Sunetra Choudhury’s report in the Hindustan Times hails the district’s ‘ruthless containment’ model by the district. It is now being looked at as an example by the country in its fight against the novel coronavirus.
What is the ‘ruthless containment’ model?
- District isolation
- Aggressive screening in city and rural parts
- Quarantine and isolation wards
- Rigorous village monitoring
The 26-year-old IAS officer, who has been Bhilwara’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) from October 2018 ran across the district with her team to take more and more people in confidence. The first case, when probed, revealed the possibility of the entire Brijesh Banger Memorial Hospital (BBMH) becoming the epicentre of the infection, since it was a doctor from the hospital who had tested positive. The immediate step was to seal the district.
The initial days were extremely challenging as essential services were to be delivered at peoples’ doorstep. They were receiving continuous panic calls as many students were stranded alone due to the sudden closure of the district.
Despite the challenges that kept coming up, the 2016 UPSC topper did not stop taking action. She stood undaunted in the face of all the problems that emerged at the ground level.
Her team worked on a proper plan to earn the confidence of the citizens. They made a scheme to reach out to the public and provide them with whatever was needed in this time of public health crisis. One of the tallest hurdles she faced was to coax people as this was not happening elsewhere during the first few days. Followed by the strict and prompt shutdown, screening was started. From the medical staff, to their families, to those they came in contact with, and eventually, the entire city was screened.
Another thing that the administration ensured was the implementation of the social distancing norms released by the advisories. The idea of deploying community leaders as “corona warriors” in villages deserves appreciation. These warriors monitored social distancing in their respective villages. Tina Dabi believes that aggressive screening, testing and lockdown became the crux of the Bhilwara model and are worth implementing in the rest of the country.
Among the 27 COVID-19 positive cases found earlier in the textile city, 25 patients have recovered and 15 have been discharged from the hospital. Calling this a lifetime opportunity to serve the people, Dabi said, “We never get this opportunity to serve so many people to handle a crisis of this magnitude. I think the learning experience that is going to come from it is going to be very rewarding for me though out my career and I am looking at it as a matter of pride.”
Rajeev Gauba, India’s Cabinet Secretary praised the effort of the Bhilwara administration in the video conference with chief secretaries of the state and said, “The government is planning to implement this model in other places, too, for effective containment of the infection.” Deputy CM, Sachin Pilot too has hailed the Bhilwara model and cited it as a good example for the state of Rajasthan to follow.
Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV