Prayas in its response to community needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated immediate relief work at the grassroots for the most deprived communities in the tribal belts of Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh districts of Rajasthan reaching out to more than 100 villages in some or the other way. A large number of these people are migrant labourers who have been hardest hit during the nationwide lockdown following the pandemic. Prayas through its community centric and needs based response strategy and relief work has been able to bring about a difference in the lives of more than 3000 households as of now and the numbers are rapidly growing. Some of the major interventions being carried out by Prayas under its COVID- 19 relief efforts are as follows.
The most vulnerable and poverty-stricken households are being identified and distributed dry ration kits comprising of wheat, rice, legumes, salt, edible oil spices, sugar and tea leaves so that they don’t have to face daily distress due to uncertainty of food or starve. A dry ration kit so provided can easily serve a family of five for about two weeks. More than 2000 families have been supported with dry ration supplies as of now.
Hygiene management as a apart of preventing diseases and protecting health is crucial during any disease outbreak. Hygiene kits are being distributed to families who are not able to afford them due to economic hardship or who are unable to access them due to lockdown and poor supplies. Each hygiene kit consists of a bathing soap, soap for washing clothes, a dish cleaning soap, a soap case, a pack of detergent powder, a toothpaste and a water strainer (paani ki chhanni). More than 1000 households have been provided these kits as of now.
The supplies and availability of sanitary napkins essential for maintaining menstrual hygiene has been badly disrupted in the rural areas. Girls who would earlier get it from the schools are now left with no source to access them since the schools have been closed. Prayas has hence initiated activity for the distribution of sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in the villages. More than 2000 packets of sanitary napkins have been distributed to girls in more than 50 remote villages.
Prayas team members in collaboration with community volunteers and women from the SHGs have engaged in making cloth masks at home which are then distributed in the villages. Along with the distribution, community members are also oriented on how to use the masks cautiously and keep them clean and sterilised. Prayas has been able to make and distribute more than 15000 masks in last one month.
Prayas has established two resource centres on COVID-19, one each in Chittorgarh District and Pratapgarh District. Each resource centre acts as a hub of information for those who may want to know more about COVID-19, quarantine facilities, tests and treatment. The centres also provide support to people who may need information or assistance with regard to accessing relief packages announced by the government. People can connect with the centres through a helpline number 7891274240 which has widely been circulated in the community.
Since a large number of people from the region are seasonal migrants to neighbouring states and cities in other parts of Rajasthan, most of them are now returning to their respective villages after they have lost their livelihood amidst the lockdown. They are poor, in extreme distress and completely uncertain about their future. Prayas team has made sure that they stand by their side at this time of intense hardship. Prayas has been engaged in identification and listing of migrants who have arrived back home and are linking them with the health system for screening, testing, quarantine and treatment as required. Prayas is also striving to ensure that these migrants are linked with government relief packages and that immediate assistance with regard to shelter, food supplies and medical care is made available to whosoever needs them. Prayas is thus directly engaged with about 400 migrants in the region.
Due to suspension of outreach health activities including immunisation and ANCs at the village level, a large number of children and pregnant women are being devoid of these essential services, which has put lives of hundreds and thousands of them at serious risk. Prayas team in more than 30 villages are therefore closely tracking and monitoring the health of children and pregnant women, especially the ones in high risk category and those in their last trimester of pregnancy so as to ensure that they get the required care and assistance for safe child birth and that any adverse incident accounting to maternal or infant death can be prevented. Prayas along with local health workers is thus closely tracking health of more than 250 pregnant women in the region.
Prayas has been tracking the delivery of government relief packages and financial benefit schemes at the grassroots and is working closely with different departments in the district to ensure that the benefits reach the last person in the mile.
As the anganwaris and schools across the state remain closed due to COVID-19, a large number of children remain devoid of their basic right to supplementary nutrition. Taking note of the situation Prayas has taken an initiative to provide one time ready to eat nutrition mix comprising of rice flakes, sugar, puffed barley, roasted gram and roasted peanuts to about 4000 children in 30 remote villages of Pratapgarh district. Each 100 gms of ready to eat has 40 gms rice flakes, 12 gms roasted gram, 10 gms roasted peanuts, 10 gms puffed barley and 28 gms sugar. It is recommended that child of 1 to 3 years should have 30 gms and child of above 3 years should consume 50 gms of the mix daily. This mix provides 375 calories and 9.8 gms protein for every 100 gms. It’s being noted that children just relished eating it because of its taste.