1. The COVID 19 National Preparedness Survey 2020 was conducted from March 25 – 30, 2020 to attain a bird’s eye view of the governance challenges of the Nation while coping with the greatest health crisis India faced since Independence.
2. The COVID 19 National Preparedness Survey recognizes the contributions made by millions of Indians in fighting the pandemic at local, District, State and National levels.
3. The objectives of this preparedness survey are as follows:
a. to develop a comparative analysis of COVID 19 preparedness across States;
b. to highlight the main priorities and constraints of COVID 19 preparedness, as they are perceived by the civil servants working in the field;
c. to access enabling factors in making institutional/ logistics/ hospital preparedness, etc.;
d. to capture trends to identify systemic and process related deficiencies, in combating COVID 19 in the districts of India
4. The questionnaire of the proposed survey was circulated to the respondents through the DARPG portal www.darpg.gov.in on March 25, 2020. Individual officers including District Collectors/ District Magistrates and IAS Officers (Batches 2014 – 2018) were asked to register themselves into the portal and submit replies to the questionnaire. Participation was voluntary, and web based.
5. The online feedback mechanism for COVID 19 from the period 25th March 2020 to 30th March 2020 resulted in registration of 410 District Collectors and IAS Officers (Batches 2014-2018) on the portal. Furthermore, 266 complete Feedback application forms were submitted online on COVID-19 from across the nation providing a holistic view on the ground challenges to combat the outbreak of COVID 19 in India.
6. Survey Findings:
a. People’s awareness about the threat of COVID 19 pandemic is very high. 92 percent of respondents said people are aware of the threat.
b. 75 percent of the respondents said that people are taking precautions to cope with the threat of COVID 19. There were responses that said awareness generation is needed in some Districts.
c. Sixty-Nine percent (69 %) respondents took the view that people are handling the COVID 19 lockdown in a peaceful and orderly manner on being questioned on public being alarmed and panicking, whilst thirty one percent (31%) agreed that people are alarmed and panicking.
d. The respondents strongly agreed that Government machinery has reached out to the people with 95% officers providing positive feedback that the Government machinery has guided and assured the people in the region or area to adopt a rational approach to social distancing.
e. Eight two percent (82 percent) of the District collectors and the officers agreed that Government of India has taken sufficient steps to combat the Covid-19 disease management.
f. Eighty Five percent (85 percent) of the District Collectors and Officers said that the state governments have taken sufficient steps tocombatCovid-19.
g. Eighty Five percent (85 percent) of the District Collectors and Officers felt that the local governments were taking sufficient steps to combat COVID 19.
h. The essential services and goods availability were largely addressed in the country with ninety two percent ( 92%) District Collectors and Officers agreeing to it. There were no disruptions in the essential services and goods availability.
i. The Prime Ministers’ appeal on Janata Curfew was very effective on ground in meeting its objectives of motivating people to adopt social distancing while staying at home with ninety one percent (91%) respondents agreed in this category.
j. The COVID 19 Preparedness survey identified the need for enhanced hospital preparedness in District/ Sub-District Hospitals, with Forty Percent (40 percent) of officials responding that hospitals were adequately prepared.
k. The District Collectors and Officers, felt that inadequate availability of Personal Protection Equipment (masks, gloves etc.) in District/ Sub-District Hospitals is an area of concern.
l. The availability of adequate isolation beds in District/ Sub-District Hospitals was agreed by approximately fifty percent (50%) officers; with twenty eight percent (28%) disagreeing to its availability.
m. The non-availability of adequate ventilator machines in District/ Sub-District Hospitals is highlighted as an area of concern in this survey.
n. The DCs/ DMs and other IAS Officers (2014 -2018 batches) strongly agreed or agreed that a lockdown needs to be enforced/made mandatory, with ninety six percent (96%) responding positively in this category.
7. In reply to the question on the most serious gap in combating COVID 19 in your district the respondents identified the following:
a. Hospital Preparedness & Infrastructure
b. Quarantining and Isolation Facility
c. Testing Facilities
d. Personal Protection Equipment
e. Lack of Public Awareness
f. Foreign travel history and Contact Tracing
g. Temporary and Wage-worker Exodus
h. Sanitizing Public places
i. Essential goods and services
8. The Survey has identified District Specific Challenges:
a. Andhra Pradesh’s Districts have identified identification of foreign returnees as a big challenge
b. Arunachal Pradesh’s Districts have identified Lack of proper health facilities, shortage of sample collection kits, testing facilities, PPEs and non-availability of ICU, Ventilator, etc.
c. Assam’s Districts have said major challenge was People are not following lockdown properly. There is non-availability of PPE equipment which increase the possibility of spread through doctors and paramedics staff. People are migrating with in state and coming from other states like Mizoram.
d. Bihar’s Districts have said Lack of PPE and medical facilities. Some districts reported that there is a lack of basic medical accessories such as masks, sanitizers etc.
e. Chattisgarh’s Districts have said major challenge lies in Lack of medical facilities and staff. Shortage of Personal protection equipment.
f. Delhi’s Districts have said that major challenge is there is a need to do enough testing for people who are suspected cases. Also, there is a need for better equipment for the hospital.
g. Gujarat’s districts have said their major challenge was High migrants inflow, risky slum areas and lack of PPEs for the staff. Migration of population from urban areas to their native places.
h. Haryana’s districts have said their major challenge was Labor movement and migration inflow is a challenge to track and test them. Non- availability of PPE and ventilators.
i. Himachal Pradesh’s Districts have said Few testing kits available. People movement is a challenge.
j. Jammu & Kashmir’s Districts have said major challenge lies in Inadequate personal protection equipment and has no supply of drugs for approved treatment.
k. Madhya Pradesh’s Districts have said Health infrastructure is in poor condition, district does not have any private hospitals or doctors so total burden is on govt health infrastructure and only one ventilator is available.
l. Maharashtra’s Districts have said Availability of medical supplies such as PPE, masks, sanitizers, ventilators etc. is main concern. Lack of trained staff
m. Nagaland’s districts have said There is no testing centre in the state, shortage in ambulances, oxygen cylinders. There is lack of essential goods as these have to come from outside the state and the sealing of inter-state borders has resulted in numerous challenges faced by vehicles carrying essential commodities in navigating checkpoints
9. In reply to the question on the one thing Government should do to combat COVID 19, Districts have identified the following points of action:
a. Develop and issue standard operating procedures and guidelines for inter-state movement of people across state borders
b. Immediately address issues relating to procurement, logistics and supply chain for medical equipment
c. Create more testing centers and capabilities for all district/ sub-district hospitals along with isolation wards for fast & seamless results and initiate steps to avoid unnecessary delays.
d. More awareness campaigns on COVID19 targeting slums in urban areas and backward villages in all the districts.
e. Encourage domestic manufacturing of testing kits.
f. Regular check on pricing for essential commodities to be made mandatory.
g. Economic support to the poor, migrant workers, farmers, MSMEs and middle class.
National Preparedness Survey on COVID 19
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India