182 pregnant women have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in Punjab in the last four days of household screening by ASHA workers in the state. Health Minister Balbir Sidhu said that ASHA workers have surveyed 24.7 lakh households covering the population of 91.2 lakh in four days.
"A total of 182 pregnant women have been reported as COVID positive in rural areas of the state. Daily monitoring of these pregnant women is being done from the state headquarters. Tele-consultation services for COVID positive and general public is being ramped up," Mr Sidhu said.
ASHA workers have been carrying out this exercise as part of Mission Fateh 2.0 with an aim to screen every person living in villages. "As the case fatality rate of rural areas is higher than urban areas, the health department has been conducting this screening drive to ensure the COVID test of all symptomatic persons," said Sidhu.
65,126 people were screened out of which 2,036 tested positive. Mission Fateh kits have been provided to all patients in home isolation whereas 140 patients have been referred to medical facilities.
As the rural population has largely shown screening and vaccine hesitancy, the government feels that household screening will help in overcoming this problem.
"We had a dual aim behind this household screening exercise. This helps to check the infection rate in rural areas and also reduce the vaccine hesitancy. More than 65,000 people have been screened at their doorstep which shows that this confidence building measures have started paying off," said Health Secretary and senior IAS officer Hussan Lal.
Multiple reports of health workers facing hostile behaviour in the rural areas have emerged since the pandemic hit Punjab.