Our Work during Covid19
In the year 2021, the second wave of COVID -19 pandemic exerted a huge impact on the leprosy programme in the country.
However, during this pandemic, NLR India Foundation continued with its novel action – the Emergency Response (ER). ER support was also provided during the first wave of COVID in 2020. Under COVID ER, the staff of NLR India Foundation volunteered to provide support to COVID patients and their families. There was a team of 32 volunteers including Research Assistants of PEP++, CBR Coordinators, LPAs, and country level staff; 13 of them used their own phone numbers for helpline support.
Our team provided verified information on – oxygen availability, chemist shop contacts (for COVID related medicines), info relating to nearby RT-PCR testing centres, hospital beds availability (oxygen, ICU beds), Ambulance, contacts for equipment purchase/ rentals (oxygen concentrator/pulse oximeter/thermometer), Doctors for online support, nearby CT scan facilities; and guidance on home isolation. These services were much sought after because of huge demand and less supply of the services related to COVID. There was a daily briefing by the staff involved in the activity and they updated on the progress made by them.
India launched the vaccination drive against COVID in February 2021. At the start, there was resistance from community regarding acceptance of vaccine. We counselled persons living in the leprosy colonies to accept the vaccine. Gradually, the acceptance of vaccine in leprosy colonies went up, and at most of the places the number of beneficiaries were higher than the state or national average. We were able to get more than 12,000 persons affected by leprosy, LF and disabilities vaccinated in our intervention areas.
Apart from the districts and states served directly by NLR India, we received calls for support from other parts of country (11 Non-NLR states and 29 Non-NLR districts), and even from foreign countries to help their relatives in India. There was an overwhelming appreciations received from the beneficiaries.
Through this emergency response we were able to connect 160,651 persons virtually or physically including 4543 persons affected by leprosy and their family members. A total of 77 persons who were under treatment with MDT were provided the drugs with support of local government system.
A total of 1252 persons affected with leprosy were trained or monitored on self-care (by video calling) in leprosy colonies. With support of various government and private agencies, NLR India made food items available at the colonies. 365 families of leprosy affected were supported with dry ration and food items. More than 135,000 persons were reached out by field teams through Public Address system and small group meetings.