The WHO- National Public Health Surveillance Project (NPSP) team of medical officers, along with 800 field monitors had conducted a 14-day survey in August, to assess the status and quality of contact tracing amongst the 58,000 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases in 75 districts across the state. In a note shared by WHO, it had said with a population of close to 19 crore (according to the 2011 census), the state’s fight against Covid-19 has been particularly challenging but after the survey, it concluded that 93% of the high risk contacts were contacted and tested, thus helping the state contain the spread of the pandemic.
“The UP government’s strategic response to Covid-19 by stepping up contact tracing efforts is exemplary and can serve as a good example for other states”, Roderco Ofrin, WHO country representative to India said.
During the survey, a team of 800 field monitors conducted telephonic interviews of confirmed cases to check status of testing of family members, reasons for non-testing, and information on clinical symptoms. Ajay Srivastava, field monitor, WHO NPSP who was involved in the exercise also said that sometimes it was difficult to obtain information as some responders were apprehensive about sharing their details, considering the stigma and fear associated with the virus.
Even so, it was found that 93% of the high-risk contacts were contacted and tested. “This exercise helped the government in strengthening contact tracing in 17 districts where more than 12 000 high-risk contacts were missed for testing, Dr Madhup Bajpai, regional team leader, Uttar Pradesh region, WHO-NPSP, said.
“This massive effort led to identification of several cases that would not have been otherwise detected and helped in containing the further spread of the disease. Quality assessment exercise also enabled improved data collection and allowed authorities to make evidence-based decisions on containment measures. The government also deployed more teams to strengthen surveillance activities in districts with high-case load,” the WHO said.