Undertaking a massive exercise to assess Uttar Pradesh's Coronavirus (COVID-19) contact-tracing, World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday, lauded the Yogi Adityanath government's thorough contact-tracing which helped the state fight the pandemic. WHO's National Public Health Surveillance Project - aided with 800 on-ground monitoring staff assessed the quality of contact tracing of 58,000 cases across 75 districts from 01-14 August 2020. Uttar Pradesh - India's densest state - has 5,07,602 confirmed cases with 7557 fatalities.
According to WHO, the state government had employed 70,000 front line health workers to reach out to high-risk contacts of COVID-19 positive cases, recording as high as 90% coverage. But to assess the quality of contact tracing, WHO was roped in as cases were rising. The WHO team's 800 field monitors conducted telephonic interviews of laboratory-confirmed positive cases through a pre-determined set of questions.
The interview findings revealed that the average number of high-risk contacts per positive case was 3.5. A total of 1,63,536 high-risk contacts were identified during this exercise by field monitors. 93% of the high-risk contacts had been contacted and tested for COVID-19. Although only 7% of the high-risk contacts were missed, there were 17 districts where more than 10% of the high-risk contacts were not tested since they were not identified by the district health teams.
"The WHO team provided technical support to the state government to boost contact tracing efforts and strengthen the capacity of field teams through training. Field monitors assessed the quality of contact tracing of 58 000 COVID-19 positive cases in 75 districts and found that 93% of the high-risk contacts were contacted and tested. This exercise helped the government in strengthening contact tracing in 17 districts where more than 12 000 high-risk contacts were missed for testing “, said Dr Madhup Bajpai, Regional Team Leader, Uttar Pradesh Region, WHO-NPSP.
This effort helped in the identification of several cases that would not have been otherwise detected, thus controlling the spread of the virus. “The UP government’s strategic response to COVID-19 by stepping up contact tracing efforts is exemplary and can serve as a good example for other states”, he adds. Uttar Pradesh currently has tested over 1 crore samples till date, the highest for any state.
The Yogi government has also been lauded for assisting the migrant labourers by arranging buses and facilitating Shramik trains amid a massive migrant exodus from cities amid lockdown. Uttar Pradesh government had instructed all district magistrates to arrange buses for migrant workers, who are found walking on foot, to send them to their homes. It has also passed an ordinance suspending all labour laws for three years except -Building and Other Construction Workers' Act, 1996, Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Part of Payment of Wages Act, to attract investment. The UP government actively chalked out a strategy to bring back stranded workers in a phased manner. It has also announced "Mission Rojgar", over 50 lakh youth will get a chance to apply for jobs in government departments as well as the private sector by March 2021.