A Decentralised Approach for Pandemic | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 14th Oct 2020

Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.– Jamie Paolinetti

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #187 :“A Decentralised Approach for Pandemic | UPSC

A Decentralised Approach for Pandemic | UPSC

Dr. K.R. Antony
A Decentralised Approach for Pandemic | UPSC

Dr. K.R. Antony is an independent Public Health Consultant from Kochi who has served UNICEF

      HEADLINES:

Outline of a pandemic fight, by and for citizens

      CENTRAL THEME:

With changed public behaviour, officials need to recognise the potential of a decentralised control approach

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : 4 : Pandemic : Governance : Medical Ethics

      MAINS QUESTION:

It is high time policymakers and officials realise the potential of such an approach of decentralised pandemic control. Substantiate -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Civic Sense
  • Sense of Responsibility and Self Care
  • Loopholes and Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the war against COVID-19; a war that has to be and can be fought with success mostly by citizens hereafter.

  • CIVIC SENSE : If there is a wider awakening, the novel coronavirus can be handled by citizens.

Initially, we never thought that a calamity in Wuhan, China would reach our doorstep.

  • CONFIRMATION OF EMERGENCY : Though it was confirmed as an international emergency since the middle of January, it was only on March 11 that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic.
  • WHO’s CREDIBILITY : Initially, all nations looked to WHO to be the technical lead, but once there was a reluctance to admit the droplet and aerosol mode of transmission, WHO lost its credibility.

      BODY: 

GRADUAL CHANGE

  • MIX BAG OF APPROACHES : Using memories and experiences of conquering earlier viral outbreaks technocrats were using a mix bag of approaches.
  • GENE SEQUENCING : Gene sequences were shared and testing methods and kits developed and shared.

Epidemiology is now better understood, with treatment modalities and experiences in reducing morbidity and mortality getting published.

  • THE WAR IS ON : New approaches are being tried. No scientific tool has gone unutilised in the quest for answers.
  • MYTH BUSTERS : Myths and misconceptions prevail despite WHO’s campaign against “infodemics”.
  • But we do have a better understanding of the virus and how it spreads.

THE VIRUS SPREADS

  • Administrations have been blamed for lapses such as having delayed stopping international flights.
  • For the dynamics of the lockdowns

For job losses and poor management of migrant workers returning home

  • For a plummeting economy, for inadequate testing and contact tracing
  • For lack of transparency in reporting of cases and deaths.

HELPING GOVERNMENTS

  • SELF CARE : In all this, people have learned one big lesson — of the need to look after and take care of themselves.
  • LEARNING IS ON : We cannot depend on the administration to do everything.We cannot rely on the predictions of technocrats.
  • FLATTENING THE CURVE : The novel coronavirus is still peaking in India and there is no evidence of the flattening of the epidemic curve in sight promised a few months ago.

OUR UNBIASED INTERESTS

  • We need to be objective about debate on testing strategy
  • The accuracy of reporting deaths
  • The case load and the recovery rate
  • The claims of success in the race for vaccine development.
  • We need to focus on what to do by ourselves.

OUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN PANDEMIC

  • SOCIAL DISTANCING : What matters to all of us is to stay away from the virus as far as possible and prevent it from infecting us.

This responsibility lies squarely on us; not on the administration.

  • IMPORTANT SHEILD : Our individual responsibility begins with self-protection. Mask wearing is the most important protection shield we have.

Doctors have been advocating its use for TB patients to minimise droplet spread of the TB bacteria.

  • NEW ETIQUETTE : Our newly acquired cough and sneezing etiquette is going to stay as a habit to stop aerosol transmission.
  • PERFECT HYGIENE : We are not going to clear our throats and spit anywhere, including from the windows of a moving vehicle.
  • CLEANLINESS AT HOME : We have also been educated on washing our face and exposed areas of the body once we reach home and before we sit on furniture.
  • PATIENCE AT LAST : The novel coronavirus has taught us how to stand in a queue patiently.

Physical distancing is now new social behaviour.

  • OVERCROWDING : We avoid crowding, festivals and processions, air-conditioned malls and shopping arcades, movie halls, displays and exhibitions.

COMMUNITY VIGIL

  • BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES :  There is a need for changed behaviour by neighbourhood and social groups to prevent transmission.
  • TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS : Virtual platforms must be used frequently to discuss the technical and administrative aspects of pandemic control by community groups.
  • DECENTRALISATION APPROACH : Volunteering for such community initiatives must be encouraged by elected representatives and members of local self government bodies.
  • VIGILANCE : Self-administered and monitored epidemic prevention and community vigilance must be sustained.
  • MONITORING GROUND REALITIES : Using smartphones, web connectivity and use of need-based new apps will all enhance the efficiency of this community empowerment.

EXAMPLE
Kerala had 45,000 registered community volunteers to run information desks and carry out screening at airports, railway stations and bus terminals .

  • GAON UNNAYAN SAMITIS  : Odisha has its Gaon Unnayan Samitis and Andhra Pradesh its health link workers at the ward level.
  • More States must emulate such initiatives to rope in the community.
  • PROTECTING VULNERABLE : Reverse quarantine and the protection of the elderly, cancer patients and people with co-morbidities need to be exercises with more community involvement.

      IASbhai Windup: 

  • LOOPHOLES : What we have now is patriarchal and technocentric, with unilateral information dissemination and enforcement of strategies either through health staff, the administration and the police.

Now, the import of cases has been reduced and nearly 90% cases are through contacts.

  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT : Enable communities to take control of their own protection and stop community transmission.
  • INVESTMENTS : Invest time and budget for this process.Let their civic sense be the biggest armamentarium to flatten the pandemic curve.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | A Decentralised Approach for Pandemic | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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