Mohd. Naushad Khan , Journalist Delhi
At a time when Individual, society, groups, NGOs, local administration, state governments and Central government playing their part in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, efforts made by Dr Ehtesham Waquarib IPS officer with medical background (MBBS &MD from AMU) in preparing his district to fight Covid-19 is exemplary.
The IPS officer is using his knowledge in Public Health (MBBS &MD in Community Medicine) and his experience of having worked during H1N1 2009 pandemic and his association with the WHO for eradication of polio during his PG days. He is now going extra mile to prepare Jamshedpur to fight Covid-19 in advance in association with state government. As an IPS officer and SP Rail (Jamshedpur) he does not have any official obligation to look after Corona pandemic but he has voluntarily chosen to give his service and the DC East Singhbhum has reposed faith in him to do this work while using his medical experience.
According to Waquarib, “I am here heading containment-cum-surveillance teams and taking meetings with doctors/magistrates and police officials of East Singbhum to ensure better coordination. We are daily monitoring surveillance team and motivating and teaching them to counsel public in order to increase public participation. I have prepared a road map of next 60 days as my background knowledge of MBBS & MD in community medicine helped me in understanding the epidemiology of covid-19. I have applied it to procure items and equipping my Sadar hospitals/CHCs and PHCs and roped in private hospitals to make grand plan successfully.”
“Even minor details were taken care of like how to make duty rosters of doctors so as to bring better efficiency in the time of crisis, how many beds will be needed, how many ICU will be required, how many ventilators will be needed and how many VTMs , PPE , gloves masks, pulse oximeters etc,” he said.
The IPS officer adds: “I am facilitating training to health care professionals and technicians so to equip themselves for oncoming disaster of covid-19. We have started Telemedicine in which people in remote areas can directly interact with doctors and specialist so to avoid unnecessary visits in the age of social distancing which lessens burden on doctors and patients. We have also started Psychological counselling helpline and disinfection chambers at hospitals and for other essential services staffs also. Very soon we are starting mobile sampling collection booths so to reach to difficult areas and in turn will decrease risks to both healthcare persons and public at large.’
“From isolating the district to mapping of the hotspots, conducting door-to-door screening by my active surveillance team members and aggressive contact tracing, properly using quarantine and isolation wards to its maximum potential.” He said.
On the people and areas covered in this plan, he said, “I am heading containment-cum-surveillance team of district East Singhbhum(Jamshedpur) of Jharkhand which has somewhat 23 lakhs population roughly the size of Australia comprising of both urban and rural folks. It’s one of the most industrialised areas of Jharkhand.”
On the implementation of plan he said, “I am taking regular meetings with doctors/magistrates and police officials of East Singbhum so as to bring better coordination. We are doing daily monitoring of surveillance team and motivating and teaching them to counsel public in order to increase public participation. We have engaged students of XLRI Jamshedpur professors and students to train surveillance workers. Also facilitating training to healthcare professionals and technicians to equip themselves to fight covid-19. There is internal competition between team members to improve daily surveillance and rewards for better performing teams.
He added, “All foreign travellers database in last 3 months are being scrutinised and house to house tracing and advised home quarantine and isolating sampling of those who are fulfilling ICMR guideline. 5000 ground workers moving daily in field doing active surveillance and 100 lab technicians are ready to collect samples throughout the district. Our borders are perfectly sealed n police is continuously checking any in or out except for medical emergency n essential items. Models, Dash boards are made to track the work done and performance of such a large army of ground workers.”
On the question of funding, he said, “No it’s not by railway. I am voluntarily giving my service to my place of positing and my home state Jharkhand. It’s in association with state government.”