The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a serious challenge at the governments and local administration bodies across the country. Continuing to spread unabated, the deadly virus has called for innovative strategies and stringent action to put brakes on its concerning spree. Andhra Pradesh has been among the front-runners in the country in terms of the measures being adopted to tackle COVID-19. From conducting tests on a massive scale to engaging a solid on-ground network-consisting of ward volunteers, ASHA workers, and ANMs-the state has been working its way in tracking the disease. One of the tech-based strategies being implemented in the state involves the use of a mobile application to track individuals based on their medical history. In an effort to minimise the number of COVID-19 cases that might go unchecked, the AP Pharma app, which was launched in April, keeps a tab on sale of drugs for cold, cough, and fever at medical stores. The methodology to track those purchasing medicines for cold, fever is being implemented in Vizag as well.
A resident of Vizag recently purchased medicines for fever, cold at a drug store in the city. After returning home, the person soon received a call from the concerned officials inquiring the details. “We were surprised to receive a call from the authorities in such quick succession. Given that we had purchased medicines for common cold, they asked us about our health condition and if anyone in our home showed symptoms of COVID-19. We assured them that medicines were purchased just to stock up reserves for emergency purposes, and there wasn’t anything serious” the person shares.
Several residents in city have also been receiving calls after purchasing medicines cold, cough, and fever at pharmacies. Shedding more light on the same, Vizag District Medical & Health Officer (DM&HO), Dr Vijaya Lakshmi, told Yo! Vizag that over 2,000 pharmacies in Visakhapatnam district have already downloaded the mobile app. Elaborating on how the application works, she informed that storekeepers at medical shops collect details of people buying medicines for cough, fever, and cold-symptoms similar to COVID-19. “The contact information of the drug buyers will automatically be sent to the medical officers of the concerned PHCs or the government hospitals or dispensaries in the area. ANMs and ASHA workers will identify the concerned persons and inquire about their health condition. If deemed necessary, the individuals will further be tested for COVID-19,” she added.
Similar tracing models are being followed in other cities such as Bengaluru, where the strategy has been counted as an effective one in combating COVID-19.
As the authorities brace for a further rise in the severity of COVID-19, experts have opined that such methods can be helpful in tracing the infection and not let any COVID-19 case go possibly unreported.
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in Visakhapatnam touched the 900-mark with 76 new cases being reported on Tuesday. While 58 cases were witnessed on Monday, 30 June saw the district record its sharpest single-day spike yet in terms of the number of cases reported. Of the total 900 coronavirus cases reported in Visakhapatnam until last night, 528 were marked active. While 367 patients were discharged after testing negative, the district has reported 5 deaths so far.