Unique COVID-19 response mechanism emerges in Srinagar

Srinagar: A unique COVID-19 response mechanism has been put in place in Srinagar to help those in distress during the extended lockdown fight the pandemic and provide a one-stop solution to issues ranging from real-time case tracking to availability essential products.

The Emergency Management and Response Center (ERMC), which may be the first such mechanism in the country, is the brainchild of Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.

It was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir GC Murmu on Friday evening at a distance from Jammu.

“After detecting the first case of COVID-19 in Srinagar on March 18 and observing the problems that health workers faced in monitoring, we thought about using the technology. We discussed this with the IT team and had an application ready, ”the 39-year-old officer told PTI here.

“Likewise, while enforcing the lockdown, we were inundated with appeals regarding various needs of people. While a large number of them were dealt with, many of them still went unnoticed due to the enormous workload.

“Half a dozen hotlines for specific sectors also complicated the response. Therefore, it was decided to have an ERMC where everything can be obtained, from essential services to emergency response, essential products to grievance, etc. “, did he declare.

Choudhary, an IAS officer in 2009, said that after taking office as Deputy Commissioner, his goal was to provide good governance and rapid, effective and efficient service delivery to citizens.

In the paradigm shift after the COVID-19 outbreak, he has honed his skills and made information and communications technology (ICT) a vital tool to enable service delivery in Srinagar.

“Now, when a COVID-19 patient is admitted, an app will be downloaded to their cell phone that provides a monitoring mechanism to ensure the person does not move around during their quarantine period. If there is movement, an SMS will be automatically generated to the control room inviting the Rapid Response Team (RRT) to take immediate action.

“It is necessary and with this application called ‘JKCoVID’ we will be able to effectively monitor isolated patients and ensure that there is no community infection,” he said.

The Srinagar control room, which it set up early last month, tracked 889 cases with unreported or hidden travel history using the “Talaash” app initially used by the administration here. The app also offered a self-report option and most of the patients being followed and quarantined tested positive for COVID-19.

“We had to use all the resources available at that time. Time was slipping away, ”said the officer, who won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration, the National Award for Best Electoral Conduct from the Election Commission and the National Award for Electronic Governance from the Election Commission. Ministry of Personnel and National Women’s Empowerment Award.

Choudhury, who holds a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science and animal husbandry and a diploma from the Indira Gandhi National Forestry Academy in Dehradun, believes this may ease an additional burden on medical staff who can focus on more cases. serious rather than watching people. in quarantine.

The app will also allow others to get a quick checkup after answering a few questions that have been designed based on questionnaires developed by medical experts dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on a score relating to their health obtained through the application, people are ranked according to their scores. People with low or moderate scores are informed accordingly via the app, while those with high scores are contacted by the medical teams in the control room and the necessary measures are taken, ”said the deputy commissioner.

Originally from a remote village of Budhal tehsil from Rajouri to Jammu near the Line of Control (LoC), Choudhary has the distinction of being the first IAS officer in the region.

“As I said earlier, you can get anything and everything that is required by an ordinary person in such a situation. Be it baby food, diapers, vegetables, food grains, medicines, hospitalization, car breakdown, the call center would provide them within a specified time, ”he said.

This can also be used to file a grievance in which a person can call a call center executive and after receiving the details about the caller and the nature of the grievance, the same is entered into the system which generates a number as well. than the estimated time of its repair.

“If not resolved, the grievance extends to the next officer and eventually comes to me, in case both levels fail,” Choudhary said.

The ERMC will also provide psychological and psychiatric counseling to people where the caller ID is kept secret.

He said that the call center and integrated real-time management system has been set up by the Srinagar district administration for full and transparent management of the COVID-19 situation in the district.

Choudhary believes the mechanism will help monitor all operations of the quarantine and isolation centers from the district control room, allowing officers to make quick decisions based on real-time data received from these centers.

He said the purpose of this initiative is to provide a one-stop solution to the issues surrounding the COVID-19 situation in the district.

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