Q: Do you still have administrative duties, for example, tracking and tracing of migrants? How has your role changed after the lockdown is over?
Block Medical Officer (BMO): I have administrative duties such as: delegating duties to frontline workers; verification of medical bills; preparing the salary of ASHAs, Community Health Officer (CHO), and Medical Officers(MO); the monitoring of pandemic-related work; and sampling in Primary Health Centre (PHC).
We get to know as soon as a person enters the Block, and then they are being tested after seven days.
Most of our time still goes in pandemic-related work even after the country-wide lockdown is largely over.
Q: What are the precautions you are taking for executing regular healthcare duties now? Have you been provided any training to do your tasks?
BMO: Whenever I am on field duty, I ensure that there is no irregularity in the quality of health safety equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits. I also make sure that the necessary facilities are available in the Primary Health Centre (PHC).
To train frontline workers on COVID-19 testing, specialists were coming in. Now, we do it on our own.
All instructions are given via email and WhatsApp, and physical trainings are not being conducted.
Q: Have immunisations and other routine activities started?
BMO: Yes, immunisations started from last month. Apart from this, new instructions were sent to PHCs and Sub-Centres this month to begin communicable and non-communicable disease-related programmes and national schemes.
Q: What is it that you need to do your job better? Are you noticing a shortfall in staff/resources?
BMO: There is definitely a shortage of staff; we don’t have a supervisors. In a lot of PHCs, we have only one health worker. In some PHCs we did not have any health workers so we had to transfer other workers there.
This interview was conducted with a Block Medical Officer in Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 22 July 2020, and has been translated.