'Roko au Toko' drive starts in five Covid-hit cities of Chhattisgarh

Express News Service
RAIPUR: With the month of April witnessing the highest cases of Covid and deaths due to the infection in Chhattisgarh in the second wave, close to 3000 volunteers have come together in support of a joint initiative of the Unicef and the state government. 

“Roko Au Toko Abhiyan” or the Stop and Advice campaign is aimed at spreading awareness and social mobilisation in five most affected cities in the state. These cities are Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Baloda Bazaar and Rajnandgaon. 

The campaign has so far reached upto 5 lakh people, thanks to the support gathered by 200 local influencers, community religious leaders, civil servants and residential representatives who added an impelling force to the drive. 

“Going by the good initial accomplishments of the volunteers, the campaign will be expanded to four more districts of Surajpur, Sarguja, Kondagaon and Narayanpur. The volunteers are mobilising the public to get vaccination while counselling them to comply with the Covid-19 appropriate behaviours for the past one month. Families affected by Covid were also supported with medicines and food,” said Job Zachariah, Unicef chief in Chhattisgarh.

Many of these volunteers stayed back at government hostels or hired rooms and avoided going home for days to eliminate a risk of spreading the virus among their family members. 

Impressed with their work, the members of the Indian Red Cross Society, National Service Scheme, National Cadet Corps also joined the campaign to dispel misinformation about the coronavirus or vaccination while encouraging precautionary measures against Covid.

Those who are self-motivated and willing to join as volunteers are required to fill up an online form with their details and declaration to commit themselves for social cause and submitted in the portal created by the Unicef. Since the work is absolutely voluntary, small honorarium are paid as the fuel charge incurred during their field visit to. The days planning in the morning and evaluation in the evening are shared as daily reports.

“Besides disseminating the importance of wearing masks, keeping safe distance, hand hygiene to combat COVID-19, our team helped and assisted the needy to access health and vaccination centres,” said Chandrakant Dewangan, the campaign field coordinator.