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What is Novel Corona Virus?
Coronaviruses which are a large group of viruses that can cause illness as minor as a cold, but in some rare cases can be fatal.  2019 Novel Coronavirus is a new virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It is named novel because it has not been identified earlier.

How do you ensure precaution against Novel Corona Viral infection?
Bal Raksha Bharat recommends the PREPARE approach for ensuring precautions for ourselves and people around when either party exhibits one or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The PREPARE approach recommended by Bal Raksha Bharat includes:

P stands for Practicing frequent handwashing

R stands for Respiratory Hygiene by sneezing and coughing into your elbow, handkerchief or a tissue

E stands for Environmental hygiene for safe disposal of used tissues in closed bins and maintaining hygiene of surrounding environment

P stands for Powering up your immunity with healthy diet and fluid intake

A stands for Avoiding social gathering

R stands for Reaching out for help

E stands for Empathy for those suffering and serving by not allowing association of stigma to the disease

What are Bal Raksha Bharat’s recommendation for Children and parents?
Bal Raksha Bharat has been supporting parents, schools and communities with tips to help kids cope with extended school closures, how to talk to children on the restrictions due to Coronavirus outbreak and prioritise learning.

Bal Raksha Bharat recommends the following:

  • Give children age-appropriate information, so they know what’s happening and how it will affect them.
  • Give children a sense of control by involving them in leading precautionary measures like washing hands thoroughly and often, coughing and sneezing into their elbow, getting plenty of sleep, having healthy and immunity boosting food etc.
  • Counter inactivity by incorporating movement and physical exercise into your at-home time – designate outside time or have a dance party in the living room!
  • Use school resources, books and educational websites and apps. Get creative by turning everyday moments into brain-building opportunities. Most importantly, have fun learning together!

What is the current situation of the spread of infection in India?
As of March 26, 2020, 1:45 pm, as many as 593 cases have been recorded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Out of this, 42 cases have recovered and 13 have died. Government of India has declared complete lockdown till April 14 with suspension of all transport services including air, rail, roadways and metro services.

Government has also introduced helpline numbers available on the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for people to reach out in case they show any of the symptoms.

  • Toll free number: 1075
  • The Helpline Number for COVID-19 in India: +91-11-23978046
  • The Helpline Email ID for COVID-19 in India: ncov2019@gmail.com

However, with the changing situation in the country, the Government has been revising the recommendations and advisories on a regular basis. For the most updated information please refer to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s official website: www.mohfw.gov.in

Are there any State-level helpline numbers available as well?
In addition to the Central Helpline number, the Government has also issued helpline numbers for States and Union Territories. The list can be viewed HERE.

What are some other resources available?
 Apart from the Union Health Ministry’s website, a dedicated page has been set up on the MyGov portal of Government of India which has a wide range of resources. It has statistical updates on cases in India, helpline numbers, quarantine guidelines for States and UTs, updates on State/UT-wise lockdowns, etc. Then there is also information on myths around novel Coronavirus, videos and activity ideas. Here’s the link to the page: www.mygov.in/covid-19

The Indian Council for Medical Research is also running a dedicated page on its website which has details on testing: Testing centres, strategy and guidelines.

What is Bal Raksha Bharat’s programmatic response to the current coronavirus outbreak?
Bal Raksha Bharat will convert the existing program implementation platforms to a limited infection containment response and a detailed guideline is being worked on by our task force. All outbreak containment response related activities will be fully aligned with Government guidelines and compliances.

Bal Raksha Bharat is supporting partners and community mobilisers to raise awareness around social distancing, preventive and precautionary measures through door-to-door drives, con-calls and WhatsApp groups. Community hotspots are also being identified for risk assessment

A national response plan has been drafted to bring forth parity in response communication, planning, impact and delivery across different states and hubs in consultation with the partners in states. However, response operations will be conducted only in coordination with local governments and district level authorities.

What steps can parents take to ensure children stay safe?
Parents should encourage children to follow the precautionary hygiene, handwashing and healthy respiratory practices. Children should be encouraged to substitute outdoor activities with indoor fun and learning activities.

If your child shows symptoms, seek medical care, and follow the instructions from the health care provider.

With suspended classes and schools, ensure that your children can continue with their home based education. It is also important to ensure appropriate supervision for children, to allow for continued education and for their protection but other potential threats they may face when left unsupervised.

What is Bal Raksha Bharat doing to help children cope with the ongoing situation?
Following the directives of Government of India to remain under strict lockdown, Bal Raksha Bharat is preparing informative material (videos, posters, guides, etc.) to disseminate (in digital forms) to children and their communities to cope with these difficult times. We realize the digital communication will be the key here to keep the communities informed and in good spirits. Information on the right techniques of handwashing, hygiene practices and psycho-social support is being shared.

On Bal Raksha Bharat’s social media channels, there are detailed posts on: ‘How to Talk to Children about the Novel Coronavirus’, ‘How to Help Children Cope with School Closures’, ‘Stress-busting Techniques for Children’, handwashing videos in which children demonstrate the right technique, etc.

Within the existing ongoing programmes, is there a plan to include any Novel Corona virus outbreak response/intervention?
All project teams are advised to take stock of planned activities and expenses and communicate to donor/s with forecasted delays, changes and risks expected. Field and partner staff have been advised to prioritise personal safety and wellbeing, and reach out to communities via digital or mobile platforms as much as possible. Teams are encouraged to apply the crisis modifier approach to the situation and communicate to donors for preparedness and response actions.

A national response plan has been drafted to bring forth parity in response communication, planning, impact and delivery across different states and hubs in consultation with the partners in states. However response operations will be conducted only in coordination with local government and district level authority.

How is Bal Raksha Bharat ensuring that children associated with their programmes are at minimum risk of getting infected?
Bal Raksha Bharat has been undertaking sensitisation activities in the community, however through adoption of ways to minimise gathering of people. Most of the sensitisation are being undertaken though miking the messages on precautions, symptoms etc. In rare cases door to door messaging, pamphlet distribution are being undertaken. Messages are being directed towards parents, caregivers PRIs and also religious leaders to not participate or encourage gathering of people in social and religious places.

The child champions that Bal Raksha Bharat work with are also being remotely oriented on the precautionary measures like  frequent handwashing, refrain from touching faces, eyes and mouth, sneezing or coughing in their elbows, appropriate use of face masks etc. Bal Raksha Bharat is also contemplating setting up of online Child Friendly Spaces, however the modus operandi is being worked out.

With the Lockdown announcement, our staff and partners will now not be moving out of their homes until the Lockdown is lifted.

How is Bal Raksha Bharat working with the government and state on different levels to ensure steps towards prevention of corona virus outbreak? 
Bal Raksha Bharat in closely working with the Inter Agency Group that brings together all civil society organisations working on the same issue for a coordinated effort. The activations are done with the use of Government platforms like Anganwadi sensitisation on precautionary measures including respiratory practices and handwashing.

Bal Raksha Bharat is also in talks with the national and few state governments to extend their support as required. The plan of action is being finalised.

Is Bal Raksha Bharat going to mount any response to address novel corona virus outbreak?
Bal Raksha Bharat is a humanitarian organization. Following the principle of humanity and our ‘humanitarian imperative’, we have mounted an ‘adaptive’ response to the situation and as per progressive assessment and emerging need we will mount a dedicated response. Currently, our staff is using its digital platforms and remote communication channels with the community to spread awareness among them within the current scope of the on-ground projects.

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