Bengal sets up 3-tier scanner to monitor senior citizens during Covid-19 pandemic
Senior citizens have emerged as a vulnerable group in the Covid-19 pandemic in West Bengal accounting for one-fifth of the casualties so far.
The West Bengal government is setting up a three-tier scanner to monitor senior citizens living alone in high-rises and gated communities in urban areas after it emerged that one out of every five people who died in the state due to Covid-19 belonged to this category.
The three-tier scanner will comprise three arms of the government – the police, district and health officials and public representatives who would keep a check on the senior citizens. This would help the authorities to send medical help and ambulance during a crisis which in turn could help to reduce the case fatality rate (CFR).
“At the ground level, officers from the local police station, the block development officer, block medical officer and public representatives such as ward councilor and ward coordinators will keep a tab on the senior citizens living alone in housing societies, flats, high rises and gated communities, particularly in urban areas,” said a senior official of the home department.
Till Tuesday, 2,909 people have died in West Bengal after testing positive for Covid-19. Nearly 20% of them were found to be citizens above 61 years of age. While 6.2% were found to be in the age bracket 61–75 years, 13.7% of the victims were above 75 years of age. Hypertension was the major comorbidity factor among senior citizens.
Under the monitoring plan, the ground level government staff and public representatives will visit the highrises and gated communities and speak to the members of the managing committees. They will exchange numbers so that the citizens can contact the police and health officials whenever a senior citizen falls sick or tests positive for Covid-19.
“They can be immediately rushed to the hospital and treatment will start at the earliest. With comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiac diseases also taking a heavy toll we will be starting a survey on this,” said a senior health official.
The police have already started taking stock of senior citizens living in Kolkata, Howrah, Salt Lake and Barrackpore.
The police and administration in other urban areas such as Asansol-Durgapur, Siliguri and Chandannagar have been asked to start the process as well.
The decision was taken in an administrative review meeting chaired by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday.
“With a three-tier checklist we hope to plug the gap that exists in urban areas. This would in turn help us to bring down the mortality rate,” said a senior official of the state government.