GUWAHATI, June 7: Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) and UNICEF Assam have joined hands to spread public awareness on COVID-19 and boost efforts of the health department in breaking the virus transmission chain 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), Assam.
“Information on COVID-19 disseminated by the government, including types of masks to use, COVID appropriate behaviour (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, foot bridges and waiting rooms of the railway stations, along with 20 coaches at the Guwahati Railway Station that have been converted to temporary isolation wards.
NFR general manager, Anshul Gupta said, “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.”
According to UNICEF Assam’s chief of field office, 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 the situations, it is important to prevent the spread by following COVID-appropriate behaviour and taking the vaccine.”
The duration of the collaboration will be three months.
Acknowledging the importance of the partnership, Lakshmanan S, mission director, National Health Mission, Assam said, “After a steady decline of COVID-19 cases between November 2020 to April 2021, Assam had subsequently witnessed a spike in the number of new cases. Laxity in following COVID appropriate behaviour is fuelling 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 behaviors’ remains the only social vaccine for prevention,” he said.