IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 14th Oct 2020
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EDITORIAL HUNT #187 :“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
Outline of a pandemic fight, by and for citizens
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
It is high time policymakers and officials realise the potential of such an approach of decentralised pandemic control. Substantiate -(GS 3)
- Civic Sense
- Sense of Responsibility and Self Care
- Loopholes and Way Forward
- CIVIC SENSE : If there is a wider awakening, the novel coronavirus can be handled by citizens.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 a plummeting economy, for inadequate testing and contact tracing
- For lack of transparency in reporting of cases and deaths.
- 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.
- IMPORTANT SHEILD : Our individual responsibility begins with self-protection. Mask wearing is the most important protection shield we have.
- 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.
- OVERCROWDING : We avoid crowding, festivals and processions, air-conditioned malls and shopping arcades, movie halls, displays and exhibitions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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