The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), earlier this week, launched a campaign, “Goans Against Corona” which includes mass door to door visits of volunteers from the party to check the oxygen levels of the people of Goa. The drive, termed as ‘Oxi-Mitra’ suppose to deploy the volunteers of the party with Pulse Oximeters across the state’s villages and towns to check oxygen levels of people in need, and also provide them to COVID positive patients who cannot afford one.
To the unversed, pulse oximetry measures the oxygen level saturation of your blood and is an easy and painless measure to know how much oxygen is sent to your body parts furthest from your heart, such as legs and arms. In respect to coronavirus infection, a level of above 90% is desired to be good, and if it drops further below that, medical attention must be sought.
In a surprise move, the state government, through the health minister announced free ‘pouches’ for patients under home isolation. This will contain vital medical requirements including that of oximeters which the AAP has initially begin distributing too for those in need.
The government’s pouch will also contain vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc supplements, including a digital thermometer.
AAP leader Elvis Gomes has said that this decision of the government is because of the impact of AAP’s campaign ‘Goans against Corona’. “Though he may not say, this is a direct impact of our campaign,” he said.
The AAP’s initiative will involve specially trained volunteers – oximitras – who will be deployed across villages and towns. Currently, around 50 volunteers have been trained, but the party hopes the numbers will increase in the days to come.
Although several drives have been carried out at market places and common prime locations by the AAP, the door to door visits are to commence once these volunteers are trained. The drives held at the public areas witnessed eager participation, with several people voluntarily getting their oxygen levels checked through this drive by the APP party.
“It has helped me know my levels, and they followed the steps. I myself also followed all health guidelines while attending this drive,” said a local resident who checked his oxygen levels at one of the drives by APP.
The door to door check, though the party claims its volunteers will follow all safety protocols, has had mixed reactions, as some consider this risky at a time when cases are increasing across the state.
“Considering elderly at home and sick persons, it may be a bit risky to have such persons moving door to door, although it is a good initiative to record those who have low levels and may need care,” said a local resident, who says, she may consider getting her levels checked if these volunteers arrive.
This initiative has successfully been implemented by the APP in New Delhi, and its success is being tried to be reciprocated here in Goa. The fear and stigma around the virus continue to prevail, but immediate and timely intervention can provide much relief.
According to the state’s mortality figures, the majority of coronavirus deaths in the state are patients who have been admitted just three-five days prior, while some test positive post-mortem.
“This is a good initiative and people are coming forward. The fear of the virus must be eradicated, and people must be educated about such knowledge of knowing one’s oxygen levels,” said a local resident from south Goa who participated in this effort.
Another resident however said that such initiatives should have been undertaken much earlier. “This door to door move should’ve been done when we began finding cases in Vasco in June. Right now, it’s risky, as the same meters will be used at all households, though they will be sanitizing them,” he said.
Another resident opined the same, saying that at a time like this, with nearly over 500 cases daily, it is not safe, not just for the people, but even for the volunteers.