As India moves towards unlocking the nationwide lockdown that was imposed in March to contain COVID-19, there is a growing concern about the increasing number of cases since the relaxations announced by the Government came into effect on 1st June. Karnataka too has seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the last few days, with 388 cases testing positive on 3rd June, the highest in a single day. Udupi district in particular reported 150 cases alone, bringing the total count to 410 cases in the district.
People who returned from Maharashtra contributed to the major chunk of the 150 new cases in Udupi, which has led to the rise in infections in the state. With this trend, it is all the more imperative for communities to be made aware of the necessity to protect themselves by following social distancing norms and other protocols.
To this end, we have conducted a series of prevention and awareness sessions for the local communities of Kundapur between 2nd to 5th June. The objective of these sessions is to educate the local community on the precautionary measures that they need to follow in their daily lives, and to encourage them to share the knowledge gained with their neighbours and other families in the community.
On 4th June, we planned to have 2 sessions at the Mahakali temple, within the Kharvikeri community, for the people of Kelakeri and Madhyakeri. The first session was planned at 4 pm followed by another at 5 pm. However, due to the heavy rains, most of our participants arrived together, so we divided them into 2 groups for the 2 sessions, and spaced out the seating arrangements.
Our team consisted of Shalini, Nagararaj, Geetha, Dinesh and Venkatesh. The projector and screen were set up at the venue well in advance.
At the registration desk, Geetha tested each participant’s temperature with a thermal gun and provided them with hand sanitiser, while Shalini ensured the registration formalities were completed.
All the participants were masked and the seating arrangements ensured that suitable social distancing was maintained.
The presentations for the Training and Awareness session was led by Venkatesh, who apprised the participants on 3 key topics. The first was an introduction on COVID 19, followed by a session on prevention and the safe practices to be followed in the community. The final session covered suggestions on how to manage stigma and discrimination within the community. To reiterate and to make things clearer, Nagaraj demonstrated the correct hand-washing techniques to be followed.
The participants listened intently and absorbed all the information given to them. They expressed their gratitude to our staff and agreed to share this information with their neighbours and other families within the community. At the end of the sessions, we distributed Safety and Hygiene kits to all the participants. Each kit contained a sanitiser, 5 Dettol soaps, 8 handkerchiefs, and a nail cutter.
Mr Prakash, President of the Mahakali Temple Committee conveyed his appreciation to our team. He said that the session was very well conducted and he learnt a lot from it. He also mentioned that no one else had conducted any such sessions, or distributed Safety and Hygiene kits to the community until now.
The local leaders helped to identify and inform the beneficiaries of our sessions. Mr.Guruprasad of Clean River project and Yuva Brigade President acknowledged that it is a very useful session for the Karvikeri people who work in menial jobs and as a result are more likely to come in contact with people. He requested more sessions like this. Mr Sampath of Clean River project and Mr Manoj, a member of Kelakeri Kshema Bivraddi Samiti were also present and expressed their appreciation of the session.