The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic did not just affect vulnerable communities in terms of livelihood losses; it also took a toll on their nutritional intake and general well-being. In the first phase of our COVID response, we had reached out to the most vulnerable families with dry ration and hygiene kits. With support from Vector Informatik India Pvt. Ltd., in December 2020, we started running interventions towards addressing the nutrition and health-related needs of daily wage workers in selected wards of Bengaluru.
Together with Slum Mahila Sanghatane, we began spreading awareness among communities on the second wave of the pandemic and the precautionary measures that could help contain its spread. Through detailed pamphlets, door-to-door campaigns and auto-rickshaw announcements, our volunteers started orienting people on healthcare needs pertaining to the most common chronic ailments, the importance of nutrition and how it helps build immunity in the long run. We were able to reach nearly 50,000 people through this wide-ranging month-long awareness campaign.
In addition, together with the local frontline workers, we organized six orientation programmes specifically for adolescents living in these slums. Designed for children aged between 10 and 19 years, these sessions, reaching out to a total of 300 children, comprehensively covered the steps to prevent COVID-19 infection. Children were also taught about the nutritional value of the various fruits, vegetables and pulses, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. To enable them access to adequate nutrition, we also distributed organic nutrition powder among them.
As part of our intervention in these wards, we also supported people in need of medicines for their ongoing (non-COVID) illnesses. Focusing on the elderly and those with co-morbidities, we provided medicines to nearly 200 individuals based on recent prescription from their doctor. In addition, more than 1,900 individuals with co-morbidities are being supported with immunity booster. Those reached out included heart, kidney and cancer patients. Besides, given the shortage of stock of essential medicines at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), we have now initiated purchase processes for 60 varied generic medicines for six PHCs; this is expected to benefit around 5,000 patients.
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