The village of Kalbhonde has a population of around 1,560 residents. Its location is in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The villagers have obeyed the guidelines presented by the Thane district authorities and it has resulted in the village having zero covid cases. The village is located in Thane, around 70 kms from Mumbai which has been a hotspot of the pandemic.
This small picturesque village in Thane has managed to stand strong against the Covid-19 surge for the past one year. Since around 440 days since lockdown was announced on March of last year, Kalbhonde has turned into a case study, recording not a single case of Covid-19 in a population of 1,560.
The sarpanch of the village, Devki Ghera said that they got through the first and the second wave of the pandemic without any positive cases. Now they’re preparing for the dreaded 3rd wave with the same spirit.
The sarpanch was helped by Police - Patil Bhalchandra Khadke, Gram Sevak - Prashant Marke, and an 11-member Village Vigilance Committee (VVC), ASHA workers, Aanganwadi workers, school teachers, to plan approaches & protect villagers under any circumstances. Ghera said the village strictly follows all the guidelines issued by Thane district authorities and has virtually sealed itself from the outside world.
Police Officer Khadke explained that no outsiders were allowed inside the village except for essential services and medical emergencies. At every village entry point, those entering were fully sanitized. They even had to change clothes and they were washed and dried there. The family hosting the outsiders made sure that they were isolated, sanitized and were washing hands frequently until they left the village. At the peak of the pandemics, the volunteers tested the body temperatures / got the oxygen levels of each villager every other day in rotation, to cover the whole population in a week.
Most of the things the villagers needed were sourced locally except for essentials like urgent medicines, food grains, sanitary napkins, etc. These products had to be bought & stocked from the outside. The Gram Sevak of the village said that the delivery vans were made to stopped right outside the village, the payments were made there. The deliveries were handled only after full sanitisation, taken to the sole ration shop or the distribution points in the village. For medical emergencies or pregnant women needing attention of higher medical authorities, the ASHA workers / Aanganwadi workers convoyed them, while following strict protocols.
Ghera said that all villagers know dos and don'ts. Isolation centres have come up near the village entry point, so if any suspects are found, they’re made to wait there. The whole village is sanitised every 3 months at their expense. After achieving a 'Zero Covid village’ tag, the Sarpanch & her team are working towards ensuring that people eligible to get vaccinated should be jabbed, top priority.
Police Officer Khadke said that so far, hardly 2 dozen people have been vaccinated (mostly senior groups) but are now discussing with authorities to give out doses to all before the 3rd wave hits. They’ve already registered all eligible persons, who are now waiting for their jabs.
This was the truly inspiring story of the tiny village of Kalbhonde that managed to keep the virus out of it for over a year. We can take a lot of inspiration from this to beat the virus. Following protocols can help us achieve our goal. If you know of any such inspiring tales, tell us in the comments below. If you enjoy such content, do visit the space for more! Stay Safe!