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Corpn grapples with lack of sanitary, nodal workers

Even as the State and the city are on the brink of the third stage (community spread) of COVID-19, the Greater Chennai Corporation which has already reported 81 positive cases, on Friday, is grappling with the lack of sufficient manpower to tackle the threat.

Corpn grapples with lack of sanitary, nodal workers
A Corporation worker conducts door-to-door survey in Tondiarpet


According to a Chennai Corporation sanitary inspector, nearly half of the divisions in the civic body lacks sanitary inspectors, who are responsible for coordinating and conducting disease control measures.

"Sanitary inspectors are ones who ought to oversee door-to-door survey and disinfection drives in his division. Owing to the huge vacancies, each sanitary inspector has to cover two or three divisions which is a burden resulting in incomplete works," the sanitary inspector said.

Apart from citing the shortage in manpower, the field-level officials are riled over the number of reports sought by the headquarter pertaining to the day-to-day disease control activities. There are only 106 sanitary inspectors to cover 200 divisions. One of the sanitary officers of the civic body said that they are instructed to send as many as 30 reports every day and pointed out a lack of coordination between various sections.

"There is no nodal officer at the headquarter to collect reports from us. Due to this, each and every section, including the control room, contact us for the same reports that we had already filed. Also, field-level officials are made to work from 7 am to 1.30 am on several days since the outbreak of the disease," the sanitary officer said.

Meanwhile, officials in the headquarters said that they are mulling to write to Gandhigram University requesting them to send qualified persons to work in the city on a temporary basis. On the other hand, several self-help group members appointed for the survey are yet to receive masks, gloves and hand sanitisers and exposed to the virus. "They do not have identity cards also. Due to this, they are facing opposition from local residents," he added.

Ambulance service inadequate in city As the spread of COVID-19 has been increasing, the city's 108 ambulance fleet seems to be insufficient. Field-level officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation are made to wait even for a whole day for ambulance service. “A few days ago, we identified a person with symptoms and asked for 108 ambulance.

Due to inordinate delay, we sent the person in a two-wheeler with our workers. Later, the person was confirmed positive and our workers who took him to the hospital are in fear,” a sanitary inspector said.

However, a representative of the ambulance service denied the delay and claimed that ambulances are provided soon after the calls are received 

Door-to-door survey to identify symptomatic cases

The Greater Chennai Corporation has devised an action plan to treat persons with common cold and fever at Corporation hospitals from Sunday.

“As a part of several measures being conducted by the Corporation to control COVID-19, door-to-door survey will be conducted in houses to identify persons with symptoms. If anyone has common cold or fever, they will be treated at Chennai Corporation hospitals. Also, persons with higher-level symptoms will be sent to government hospitals,” SP Velumani, state Municipal Administration Minister, said after a review meeting held at Ripon Buildings on Saturday.

He added that around 10 lakh buildings in the city have been segregated into 13,100 components with 75 to 100 houses each. As many as 16,000 employees would be deployed for conducting the survey. The minister also assured of Rs 15,000 consolidated salary to the employees and personnel safety equipment. Meanwhile, a Chennai Corporation statement said that work order has been issued to procure 11.50 lakh masks, of which 4 lakh masks have been provided. “Also, 1,000 N95 masks will be provided to doctors. Work order has also been issued to buy 6 lakh hand gloves,” the release said.

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