Nagpur: “Move ahead leaving fear behind” is a one-line message from the success story of Covid-19 containment in Malegaon of Nashik district which was one of the earliest and one of the worst hotspots in Maharashtra. Malegaon had completed 1,000 cases in a record time, but it has been reporting less than 10 cases a day for the last 10 days.
Moreover, the number of Covid-19 deaths has reduced significantly even during the unlock 1 and unlock 2 period.
Malegaon can be easily compared with towns in Vidarbha like Kamptee and Akola as Covid situation and population here are similar. Malegaon’s population is around 10 lakh. It registered the first Covid case on April 8 and since then emerged as a hotspot with 1,217 cases and 83 deaths till July 23. Out of these, 42 deaths were reported between April 27 and May 18 (21 days). Remaining 41 deaths were reported from May 19 to July 23, which is 66 days.
Nashik’s district collector Suraj Mandhare shared the success story of Malegaon which neither has lockdown nor restrictions on movements, but also allowed opening of businesses and powerlooms — for which this town is identified.
“The moment we started powerlooms, people immediately jumped in and started leading a normal life,” he said. As present situation in Kamptee, Akola and some areas in Nagpur is quite similar to that of Malegaon, same pattern could be a way to go for these places also.
Apart from business as usual, some important aspects of Malegaon’s success stories are multiple treatment options and no information overload to the people.
“Though the public health system is in place, still a parallel system including oxygen (O2) concentrators is catering to the patients who wanted to get treated at home. It was a calculated risk and it worked well for us,” said Mandhare.
“Moreover, people here mostly read local Urdu newspapers which rarely publish complex things like case fatality rate, doubling rate, antigen kits, vaccine development etc. This kept citizens away from fear psychosis and also saved them from getting drowned in wrong conclusions,” he added.
Political and administrative synergy was also a major reason. “Politicians didn’t just supervised, but helped genuinely whenever required. Administration didn’t just regulate the things, but worked as volunteers. NGOs didn’t file PILs and actually worked towards public interest. And finally, people didn’t place just demands but actually contributed their bit,” said Mandhare.
Malegaon Success Story & Vidarbha
Discharge policy | 10-day no-symptoms no-test discharge policy — This is being implemented in Vidarbha too
Multiple treatment options | Patients who wanted to get treated at home were allowed to do so — This is not allowed in Vidarbha, so far
No information overload | Limited media access (mostly Urdu newspapers) in Malegaon kept people away from fear psychosis — This is difficult to happen in well-read Vidarbha
Business as usual | Powerlooms started, so people started leading normal life — Many industries are still struggling to start in Vidarbha
Synergy across stakeholders | Political, religious leaders, NGOs, and administrative officials worked together — This is not visible at least in Nagpur