The epidemic will be eradicated only through public participation, a commendable initiative taken by the Madhya Pradesh government
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously damaged human life around the world. The impact of the pandemic is not limited to public health but has resulted in social and economic destruction around the world, with millions at risk of extreme poverty. To effectively control the spread of COVID, community participation must be encouraged.
The primary objective of the State Governments at present should be to reduce the number of daily infection cases in the State by increasing community awareness and adopting appropriate behaviour towards COVID by the citizens in daily life.
A commendable initiative has been taken by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in this direction. The state government has taken some successful steps to reach out to every section of its citizens. The District Crisis Management Group has been empowered to decide on local issues by the government.
This includes the participation of MPs, MLAs, Panchayats, Presidents of local bodies, ward and block-level members, village-level crisis management groups, non-government organisations, local public representatives and voluntary organisations.
Apart from this, volunteers were registered in four categories under ‘I Corona Volunteer’. In these, a team of people was formed as Vaccination Volunteer, Medical Assistant Volunteer, Mask Awareness Volunteer, Mohalla Committee Volunteer, Jan Abhiyan Parishad, guide and coordinator.
Also, crisis management groups have been formed at various levels in urban and rural areas. This group has been given several responsibilities, including deciding on the imposition of Janata Curfew, deciding on the activities to be allowed in each zone during the lockdown and taking a decision regarding the lifting of restrictions in a phased manner.
With the formation of these crisis management groups at district, block and village levels for rural areas, the government at district, city and ward levels for urban areas, active groups for managing COVID-19 emergencies, community engagement and preventing the spread of the COVID pandemic.
As well as ensuring effective implementation of the guidelines of the State Government at the grassroots level.
Scientific and reliable information material has been made available to the members of the Crisis Management Group formed so far.
The Jan Abhiyan Parishad constituted under the Department of Economics and Statistics under the ‘I Corona Volunteer’ campaign promotes the activities of various social groups and voluntary organizations in the state.
Apart from strengthening the activities undertaken and directed towards the prevention of COVID-19, active community participation is also being ensured.
With these efforts, the state government has not only been successful in involving citizens in COVID appropriate behaviour and on the ground implementation of government directives but has also been successful in creating an efficient feedback loop.
The state administration, including the chief minister, interacts regularly with the crisis management group at each level to understand the issues at the ground level, as well as, empower them in a decentralized decision-making process.
In this hour of crisis, the group and volunteers also made their commendable contribution. For example, people roaming outside without reason and shopkeepers violating the lockdown were reported to the administration, guidelines were made to ensure social distancing and such cases were reported by the group.
This model developed by Madhya Pradesh is exemplary for the whole country, as it is impossible to deal with such an epidemic in the absence of public participation.