Measures taken by SNEHA as response to COVID-19
Mumbai and Thane
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the immunity of our beneficiaries was even more critical to prevent them from getting infected. Apart from the immediate relief work during the pandemic, we continue to work on improving the health of our beneficiaries, with special focus on malnutrition and anaemia among pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents. We are also addressing issues like mental health and domestic violence arising as a result of increase in stress levels due to the fear of contracting COVID-19 and staying indoors in congested homes.
SNEHA works in slum communities in Mumbai (Dharavi, Wadala, Govandi, Mankhurd, Malvani, Kurla, Kandivali), Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayandar, Ulhasnagar and Bhiwandi-Nizampur directly reaching about 342,778 women and children and indirectly reaching over 1 million population. During the start of COVID-19, due to the nation-wide lockdown, the teams were working from home over phone/online addressing the needs arising during the pandemic through more than 6000 community-based volunteers while continuing our regular work on health and safety.
Educating slum communities on preventive measures like hand wash, personal hygiene, symptoms of COVID-19, proper usage of masks, significance of timely vaccination, tips on self-isolation, social distancing and other such precautions. This was done through direct phone calls to beneficiaries and through our community volunteers who helped reach more community members. We conducted a survey to assess vaccine coverage and vaccine hesitancy. We continue to educate and inform our communities on Covid-19 vaccines to increase uptake of the same.
Working with Government
We worked closely with senior Government functionaries at the city and state level to ensure continuity of health services for pregnant women, anaemic women/adolescents and immunisation of children; advocating for supply of rations at concessional rates, as announced by the Central Government and conducting online training for front-line healthcare workers on COVID-19. We mobilised communities for vaccination through public and public/private partnerships.
This included distribution of food rations to needy families with no access to the public distribution system; supporting frontline health workers across the 7 Municipal Corporations with supply of masks and sanitizer bottles; continuation of counselling services to address mental health issues and cases of violence against women and children.
Our 24/7 crisis helplines and the One Stop Centre (OSC) at KEM Hospital have been functional throughout the pandemic providing phone and online counselling to women and children in distress. Read more here.