With thousands of Ayush professionals joining the Jan Andolan against Covid 19, the movement has gained considerable traction in the traditional systems of medicine. The movement is covering Ayush dispensaries, hospitals, educational institutions, wellness centres and other units. Ayush professionals work closely with the public at the grass root level, and hence they have been successful in adding momentum to the campaign by influencing public behaviour during this awareness campaign.
It was seen in a review done at AYUSH Ministry that during the 5 days period from 26th to 30th October 2020, Ayush stake-holders reached out to an estimated110 lakh people with messages propounding Covid 19-appropriate behaviours, through channels ranging from face-to-face communication to digital media. The ongoing festival season poses public health challenges as people tend to drop caution in the spirit of the festivals, increasing the risk of spread of the pandemic. It is expected that the interventions of the Ayush professionals will add to the efforts to encourage people across the country to adopt COVID appropriate behaviours.
Partnerships forged by the Ministry of AYUSH through its attached and subordinate offices with the private sector industry and academia have been successful in roping in many stake-holders into this activity. Ayush Directorates in States and UTs with Ayush dispensaries supported by the National Ayush Mission of Ministry of AYUSH under them have together served as a major network for spreading the instant behavioural change communication. The Health Secretaries of many States/UTs have also initiated campaigns aligned with these messages.
The different Ayush units (Ayush dispensaries, hospitals, educational institutions etc.) together put up nearly 5000 posters and 8000 banners with customised messages in different institutions in different States and UTs during this 5-day period. These included standard messages on “wearing mask, washing hands and keeping physical distance” as well as targeted messages on Ayush immunity practices and relevant Yogasanas.
This 5-day period also saw nearly 200 newspaper articles being published thanks to the efforts of Ayush stake-holders, and nearly 300 print advertisements issued. Further, as part of the patient-education efforts, nearly 3 lakh pamphlets and brochures were distributed. A few institutions also brought out e-newsletters. The network of about 750 Ayush Medical Colleges with their communities of students and teachers have been particularly active in this effort.
The five-day period also saw the Ayush institutions sending out nearly 200 Social Media messages on the subject collectively, reaching an estimated 5 lakh people. Talks and news items on health awareness and Covid appropriate behaviour figured on TV and radio on 78 occasions during this period. Thousands of people were reached through the different webinars organised on the subject by Ayush institutions.
Some institutions took up high-value promotional activities like distribution of medicinal plants, Ayur Raksha Kits, masks and prophylactic medicines. Nearly 9 lakh beneficiaries received these in different States. Demonstrations to OPD patients and inhabitants of ‘AYUSH Gram’s regarding the way to wear mask properly, method of hand washing and appropriate food habits to strengthen immunity were held at multiple places, and keenly attended. A few institutions also organised lectures on topics relating to appropriate ways of conducting oneself in crowded places.