Educational Project for Covid 19

In India, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant challenges for the healthcare system and a sudden overflow of rumors, hoaxes, and misinformation regarding the etiology, outcomes, prevention, and treatment of the disease. This prompted the Indian Prime Minister to appeal to the population to not listen to or spread rumors. The problem is compounded by India’s robust social media activity, being the biggest market for the messaging application WhatsApp with 400 million users. The negative impact of misinformation about COVID-19 in social media has been recognized by the national and international organizations (UNESCO, WHO) as well as mass-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Because COVID-19 is becoming a rural health crisis in India, urgent interventions to curb the spread of the infection are imperative. The overall goal of our intervention is to limit the COVID-19 disease spread in a rural Indian community by 1) promoting proven primary prevention measures, and 2) counteracting the COVID-19 misinformation that floods the social media in India. Toward this goal, we will employ a Community Health Worker (CHW) model, an evidence-based community approach to improving health.

In June 2020, MGH Institute conducted a community needs assessment in the Chakai area. It showed that: 1) most community members do not wear masks; 2) an estimated 35% of families have masks; 3) hand washing is difficult to practice; 4) hand sanitizer use is extremely low; 5) hand hygiene has not received much attention in the area; 6) nobody we asked heard of MIS-C; 7) many community members believe that eating a vegetarian diet or spices and drinking hot water with salt or local herbs can protect against COVID-19 infection; 8) about 75% of families in the community use mobile phones (50% have smartphones), and regard these as the primary source of information about COVID-19.

Main Objectives of the program

  • To create and deliver Covid awareness learning programs for children of the local community, facilitated by Lahanti Club members.
  • A Community Health Worker (CHW) program to identify and alleviate misinformation effects on preventing COVID-19 spread.

Work location- Chakai Bihar

Project Partners- MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston (Anshul Kumar), Sinchan Education and Rural Entrepreneurship Foundation and Lahanti Club