Guwahati, June 8: The NF Railway and UNICEF Assam have joined hands to spread public awareness on COVID-19 in the state.
As part of the collaboration, 36 railway stations (14 under Rangiya Railway Division, 13 under Tinsukia Railway Division, and nine under the Lumding Railway Division) across the state will disseminate information on COVID-19 and related topics, starting with the Guwahati and Kamakhya Railway stations.
This collaboration aims to support ongoing efforts by the Department of Health (and Family Welfare) and the National Health Mission (NHM), Government of Assam.
Information on COVID-19 that has been disseminated by the government, including types of masks to use, COVID Appropriate Behaviours (CAB), vaccines, mental health, home isolation and care, strains of the virus, helpline numbers, among others, would be placed at the entry and exit gates, platforms, footbridges and waiting rooms of the railway stations, along with 20 coaches at the Guwahati Railway station that have been converted to temporary isolation wards.
Anshul Gupta – General Manager, Northeast Frontier Railway said that – railways is making all efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
“We are running Oxygen Express trains for the supply of oxygen to the states, operating special COVID Care Centers in our hospitals for treatment of COVID positive patients and have provided coaches for isolation of patients whenever required. In this fight, awareness is the most important tool.
Northeast Frontier Railway is running awareness campaigns in its jurisdiction to make people aware of COVID Appropriate Behavior. This joint initiative with UNICEF Assam will go a long way in educating lakhs of people using railway premises regularly and will help restrict the spread of COVID-19 to a great extent,” Anshul Gupta said.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined the meaning of a global health crisis and is a challenge being faced by humanity today.
The entire country, including Assam, is witnessing the second wave along with a surge in infections and fatalities. This has led to a scenario wherein the overall health infrastructure is overwhelmed in an unprecedented manner.
According to UNICEF Assam’s Chief of Field Office, Dr Madhulika Jonathan – “The current scenario can be overcome only with active participation from citizens. As per research, we know that COVID-19 spreads through the aerosols of an infected person, and it can spread fast.”
“However, new mutants can also increase the rate and severity of the infection. In both situations, it is important to prevent the spread by following COVID Appropriate Behaviours and taking the vaccine when your turn comes. Therefore, a need exists to sensitize the general public about various aspects to be adhered to in this fight against COVID-19. We thank the Northeast Frontier Railway for adding the much-needed push to reach out to the masses of people travelling within and to-and-fro from Assam,” Dr Jonathan added.
The duration of the collaboration between NF Railway and UNICEF to be three months.
Acknowledging the importance of the partnership, Dr Lakshmanan S, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Assam said – “After a steady decline of COVID-19 cases between November 2020 to April 2021, Assam is witnessing a spike in the number of new cases. Laxity in following COVID Appropriate Behaviors is fueling the rise in cases. Proper masking, hand hygiene, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places and taking the vaccine are the key to break the chain of transmission. Until the vaccine is available for all, ‘COVID appropriate behaviours’ remains the only social vaccine for prevention.”
UNICEF Assam has been supporting the Department of Health (and Family Services) and National Health Mission in increasing public awareness around COVID-vaccine uptake and Appropriate Behavior, strengthening COVID testing, treatment and vaccination capacity and providing essential supplies to support the health system.
Among the support, UNICEF has supplied RT-PCR machines, walk-in coolers, deep freeze refrigerators, ice lined refrigerators, cold boxes, vaccine carriers and triple-layer masks. Amidst the pandemic, UNICEF has continued to support the strengthening of the health systems and quality of essential maternal and child health services in the state.