Post-lockdown assessment show high rate of compliance

Younten Tshedup 

Three weeks after the lockdown, Thimphu has not recorded any positive cases from the community so far. 

However, the capital city remains the most vulnerable given its high population density and one of the highest mobility rates.  

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that as per the Covid-19 risk assessment criteria, should there be an outbreak in Thimphu, disease containment would be very challenging.  

Thus, even during the lockdown, Thimphu saw one of the highest frontline responders deployed beside the high-risk areas (southern dzongkhags) to prevent the disease.

Also, with most of the headquarters of agencies located in the capital city, measures were put in place for some of these agencies to allow them to function from a containment centre during the lockdown. 

With the lockdown now lifted, officials from the health ministry said that it was imperative to assess the compliance to Covid-19 safety precautions in the containment centres and also to ensure the safety and wellbeing of frontline responders during the post-lockdown phase in Thimphu.        

On September 4, after the lifting of the lockdown, a team comprising health officials (TAG), police, De-Suup, thromde and dzongkhag administration assessed 62 containment centres between Dechenchholing and Chuzom. 

Findings   

Almost 95 percent of the centres had maintained either the Druk Trace QR code or logbook facility to keep a record of any visitors at the facilities. The centres also had functional water supply (92 percent) and soap in the washrooms (90 percent). 

It was found that 66 percent of the containment centres had mess facilities of which 48 percent had their cooks and helpers. They were equipped with necessary protective clothing.      

Seventy-nine percent of the centres had designated health focal points and 82 percent had a contingency plan developed. 

On the individual behaviour, the rate of compliance to safety and precautionary measures of Covid-19 such as hand hygiene, mask-wearing, cough etiquette, and physical distancing, among others, stood at 94.6 percent. 

In case of a health emergency, 93 percent of the centres had established a clear reporting channel and referral system for the frontline responders. 

Recommendation 

On the recommendation of the inspection team, the health ministry’s technical advisory group (TAG) developed a protocol to test the frontline workers. The team had also recommended that good quality face masks for all including public be made available at the centres. 

Given that maintaining physical distance was a challenge in most of the settings, the team recommended focusing on other precautionary measures such as increasing ventilation in the rooms. 

The team also recommended that food should be served by cooks or helpers instead of self-serving.       

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