Considering the census 2011, the combined population of Raxaul town is above 55000 represented by an MLA supported by Police Station and Nagar Parishad along with 2 major healthcare providers.
Among the people who responded, most of them were dependent on the government for the updates or any kind of information related to coronavirus pandemic as the area is backward and there are very less sources for media and NGOs to cater.
People did face lot of challenges like loss of earnings, exhausting personal savings and others which are referenced below using the responses captured and presented with the help of graphs.
The above graph shows about people of town experiencing awareness about the pandemic situation occurring all over the world. The main source of getting information about COVID-19 was from Government sources, relied news channels, radio channels, news papers etc. and local administration of Raxaul town. The role of local media was not much appreciable as clearly shows in the graphs as well and that’s shows the poor infrastructure development of town, unavailability of correct information and unawareness among the people.
Food and water are the most essential elements after air (oxygen) for sustaining life on this planet but because of this COVID-19 pandemic situation, country was under lockdown situation where everything (industries and shops) were completely shut down for the time period and many people lost their livelihood and faced basic food crisis situation. The main problem after food crisis was mental health of people as they experienced depression, anxiety, and hyper tensions and other similar severe illness.
The major shops in Raxaul town are for clothes and related products which require staffs or labour, some who work in shops in monthly wages and some of them who work as loading and shifting of products from transport on daily wages. Because of the nationwide lockdown, many workers lost their source of livelihood who were the sole source of bread for their family members and this did badly affect their lives.
Additionally, the current situation is very threatening and the same is clear with the responses from the general public.
Many common people who work every single day to earn their livelihood starved badly and were only dependent on the daily food distribution carried out by various agencies since the pandemic took away their earning sources and left them with bare hands.
A lot of the general public feels that the situation in the town is not very good and the life is at risk due to lack of facilities at the PHCs.
Primary Healthcare Centre, Raxaul
The government run primary health centre which has been upgraded as the sub divisional hospital recently. There has been merely any extended support from the government agencies in these tough times. The research talks about the shortage of the hospital staffs on a regular day and increasing them should the primary objective of the concerned authorities.
To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, a team of 6 doctors from Patna and Motihari was sent to Raxaul PHC for examining the patients for about two weeks.
The vacant position of the PHC, Raxaul should be immediately filled and should also be increased in order to cope with the rising population and retiring healthcare workers.
During the pandemic, there was a drastic change in the patient’s seeking clinical help and those who visited the hospital premises were strictly advise to follow the safety protocols.
Leaves and any additional allowances were immediately cancelled and all the staff worked tirelessly day and night to ensure they provide the best possible service to the affected. The hospital staff were incentivised with a basic pay for 1 month in return for all their services. The fundings for Asha workers, Anganwadi staffs was delayed by the state agencies.
The government made the test kits available with the PHC and the tests for all the needy person was conducted free of charge. Even the private care referred their patients to PHC for the test and PHC was kind enough to facilitate them free of charge.
As on January 20, 2020, following are the coronavirus bulletin from Raxaul PHC:
Table-1 Source: PHC Record Book
Current Active Case
YTD Positive Case
6 (Co-morbid); 1 Female 5 Male
Despite the traumatising condition of healthcare facility, the casualty rate was very low. 1 female who passed away had cancer and 5 males who contracted the virus were affected by the old age disease.
1560 vaccines have been allocated for the healthcare workers in the first phase and this is expected to grow gradually covering almost everyone referred as frontline worker.
The following is the profile of the Raxaul PHC.
Table-2. Source: PHC Record Book
Sh. Anil Kumar, UNICEF Block monitor talked about the awareness campaign which was carried out including door to door oxygen level check and digital temperature reading.
SRP Memorial Hospital, Raxaul
The private hospital, SRP Memorial Hospital introduced Doctor on Call facility to help the patients get expert opinion from the doctors without visiting the hospital through telecommunication devices.
Since the pandemic was a new to everyone and there was no way to examine the same in the initial days, the hospital used to treat the patients using CT scan of the lungs to determine if the person is healthy or infected.
Later on, when the government procured the test kits and made it available in the primary health centres, they were conducted for free for all those who really needed the tests as referred by the hospital.
Additionally, Nagar Parishad employs approximately 300 staffs including daily wagers and permanent staff. In addition, we have 25 elected councillors who look after the ward’s sanitation.
The Nagar Parishad did their best of efforts to restrict the contamination by getting the area sanitized, creating awareness and sharing safety guidelines with the people. The sanitation workers did their best to remove the garbage on a daily basis so that the people living in the area should not be affected by the garbage pile up.
The executive staff talked about the awareness campaign and sanitization drive which they undertook during the pandemic.
The Nagar Parishad spent about approximately INR 10,11,052/- in camping and quarantine centres and INR 9,88,460/- in sanitization. The funds spent has been out of pocket expenditure and is still awaited to be sanctioned from the state agencies. Also, the management has been very disturbed as the salary of the staffs has been delayed for almost all staff for about a year now.
Sh. Kashinath Prasad and Smt. Usha Devi discussed about the awareness campaign, safety measures and role of nagar parishad in keeping the city clean during the pandemic.
The Block development officer Mr. Sandeep Saurav, circle officer Mr. Vijay Kumar and returning officer Mr. Santosh Singh also contributed in by sharing their experience about the pandemic. The circle officer shared about the expenses made by the block and the amount spent was about INR 56,00,000/- against the allocated amount by the state agency was just INR 21,00,000/-.
Talking about the police personnel, the deputy superintendent Mr. Sagar Kumar along with his team of one inspector and 5 sub inspectors and 5 assistant sub inspectors talked about their views and experience of dealing with the pandemic. The major challenge they faced was of the sanitization of the uniform on daily basis. They tried their best to assist the block officers, local administrators in maintaining law and order of the city.
Additionally, they talked about the exertion to an extent that even the police chef was allocated with the responsibility of guarding the quarantine and isolation centres.
One of the major challenges which the officers faced was about the transfer during the pandemic. This affected them in giving their best to serve their area as the instructions was overlapping with the officers serving before them and vice versa.
The similar situation was faced by the BDO who took over the office in August 2020.
Sh. Pramod Sinha, MLA – Raxaul who took over the office after the November 2020 assembly elections shared his experience wherein, he along with his team distributed the food and medicine to the needy people and donated to several affected from his personal savings. He ensured about the proper channelization of the test kits so that it reaches the centres asap and proper testing can be completed.
Even when the vaccine is rolled out, the beneficiaries are properly registered and the concerned authorities are themselves working to ensure a fair supply.
Almost everyone we met during our interview process, took the pandemic as a challenge to save their fellow citizens by constantly spreading awareness, supplying food to the needy and getting preventive medicines for immediate use.
Apart from the people holding any office of profit from the government, several financially stable people came forward to help the society by means of providing food and clothes to the severely affected.