Role of local self-governments in control of COVID-19 in Kerala: an exploratory study

Devika Radha, Jayasree Anada Bhavan Kumaran, Mayamol Thekkel Raghavan Nair


Background: Kerala is one among the Indian states that has incorporated local self-government (LSG) bodies into its public health system. The focus of this research is to study the role of these bodies in the COVID-19 response strategy taken by the state.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with the heads of various local self-government bodies in the district of Kannur to collect information on the COVID-19 management role they undertook. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed by adopting the inductive approach to derive themes and conclusions.

Results: The interviews reflect that LSGs have undertaken a wide range of initiatives in their COVID-19 response strategy. Organisational capacity, networking with various agencies, community participation, resource mobilization, inter-sectoral coordination, etc. were significant factors in successfully conducting these activities.

Conclusions: Managing the pandemic by planning activities at local level has gone a long way in controlling spread of the viral infection in Kerala, during initial phase. The involvement of the local self-government, primarily constituted for legislative and executive purposes, has had a major role in public health activities and positive impact in the health status of the state. This can serve as a model for effective implementation of public health programs as illustrated in the case of COVID-19 pandemic.


LSG, COVID-19 pandemic, Inter-sectoral coordination, Community participation, Networking

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