Kerala government is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the fight against COVID-19. In order to ensure that the directions and guidelines released by the state to prevent the spread of the pandemic reach the tribal communities of the state, the Scheduled Tribes Development Department has come up with a novel initiative. With the assistance of the Health Department, short videos in various tribal languages are made and circulated among the tribal communities.
From explaining what coronavirus is and how it is lethal to humans, to the importance of hand sanitisation and hygiene, the video contains all the basic information needed to fight COVID-19. These videos have so far been made in the languages of the Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakans and Oorali tribal communities.
âWe select one member from each community and teach them what is to be said in the video. The persons will then speak the directions in their language. Our representatives or the ASHA workers in the region then go to each tribal colony and show this video. Since things are explained in their own language, the message will reach them correctly,â said Pramod, tribal development officer of Mananthavady in Wayanad district.
Kerala fighting COVID-19: Awareness videos are made in various tribal languages. Local officials and health workers show these videos going to each tribal colonies.â Neethu Joseph (@neethujoseph_15) March 23, 2020
This one here is Oorali language. pic.twitter.com/VuilFvJcm5
Meanwhile, Mattoli, a community radio based in Wayanad district, has also taken on the responsibility of imparting awareness about COVID-19 to the tribal communities in the district.
Between the daily broadcasting services, Mattoli has also started to educate people on the preventive measure to be taken against COVID-19, in various tribal languages. Like the Scheduled Tribes Development Department, Mattoli also uses the help of members of each tribal community to broadcast awareness. For over the past 15 days, Mattoli had been vigorously broadcasting the daily directions of the Health Department.
The community radio which has been functioning in Wayanad for the past 11 years, has a stronghold among the tribal communities in the region.
âIncluding the tribal population, we have almost three lakh listeners in Wayanad. Moreover, over the years, we have distributed 5,000 radios to the tribal colonies. So we are confident that awareness about COVID-19 we broadcast is reaching the communities,â Father Bijo Thomas, station director of Mattoli, told TNM.
Father Dijo also adds that by broadcasting in the tribal languages, it also gives a sense of significance for that language among the community members.
With COVID-19 cases shooting up in Kerala, taking the total number of patients under treatment to be 64, the state government is planning to bring stringent regulations to avoid the possible community spread of the disease. At present, only Kasaragod, the northernmost district in the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases is under lockdown. But with the direction of the central government to lockdown all COVID-19 affected districts, the state government is chalking out a plan to implement this.