by Dr Arshed Iqbal Dar
The world is face to face with a catastrophe. With top-notch healthcare system tumbling, the nations known for best public health systems are leading the death toll.
Given the current antidote to the disease, it has not moved beyond washing hands and physical distancing. Reports suggest China is undergoing the second wave of the pandemic. The situation is emerging worrisome. The health workers leading from the front to fight against the invisible enemy are scared. Reports of doctors resigning are also in the media.
The crisis began when the healthcare professionals in the field faced the brunt. The list of infected includes the men and women out to combat the outbreak. With little or no protective gear available, the warriors in the field see the situation as depressing. It is like asking a soldier to fight at the border without a weapon.
The catastrophe calls for help, every time. This time too people around joined hands together to lend helping hand. The organised NGO’s also made a serious attempt to chip in and assist the local administration to reach out with help. Appreciated. But the concern amid Coronavirus is how to know who is well and who is not. Terrifying questions, no answers. Permitting people to serve society is suicide. It fails a serious effort to stop the spread. The current crisis is not a regular community affair. We are face to face with an existential threat. The sincere volunteers out are unaware of the guidelines and have no idea how to reach out with the utmost care. Even an attempt to help could hurt and that too badly.
The efforts require discipline in other things as well. A civic sense has to inculcate to have a responsible response. When it comes to local vendors, bread makers, milkman, we witness a sorry state of affairs. A society has to emerge as a force to combat the crisis effectively.
As the knowledge of covid-19 is shrouded in complete obscurity, the strategy to react could never be structured. This is a serious challenge for policymakers. But Srinagar’s deputy commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary needs a special mention. He has emerged as a source of satisfaction and his approaches are turning out to be a lifeline for humanity. The district Baramulla is too fighting efficiently. The administration needs support and the people sitting in cosy rooms cannot be judges and abuse the people actually in the field.
The onus lies on the system as well. The worrying situation could turn dreadful if the process of diagnosis is interrupted. Need is to take it next higher level. Include more samples per million and do the massive testing to ensure the spread is alarming anymore. Besides the government needs to have a parallel system to proceed with the diagnosis and treatment of other life-threatening diseases. Patients with compromised immunity could turn out to be a massive spreader.
However, as containment of the mutating virus is important, the lockdown became inevitable. But it has costs as well. A country like India faces socio-economic challenges. If we see the statistics, millions of workers, daily wagers are uncovered, be it a regulatory framework or financial security. This eventually will lead to a situation where this huge population would fear hunger more than the virus. Besides, the crisis could affect mental well-being as well.
A strategy is required to be multi-pronged. Cater to the needs of regular care and invoke a stringent method to deal with the new disease.
Beyond the crisis, the biggest challenge is the rumour mongering, dissemination of lies, accusations, non-cooperation in the market and other problems created by mankind. What exactly is needed to help and not hurt? Cooperate and not confront. Otherwise, all the compelling factors together would turn into a major catastrophe.
Last, but not the least, we need globally connected medical research, legitimate dissemination of knowledge, cooperative society and synergic cum high-minded leadership to combat these factors which are pregnant with catastrophe.
(The author is an Assistant Professor at the Government Degree College, Sumbal, Sonawari. Ideas expressed in the write-up are personal.)