Measures to control the impact of Pandemic in rural India

Synopsis: To limit the impact of Pandemic in rural India, states must produce reliable data on Covid-19 infection. State governments need to build capacities and involve panchayats in Covid-19 response.

Background of Pandemic in rural India
  • To tackle the second wave, active coordination between all three tiers of Government (The union, the State and Panchayat) is necessary.
  • The second Covid-19 wave has impacted Rural India equally. This necessitates the need to implement the delivery of vaccines and healthcare services on a war footing in rural areas.
  • However, ensuring access to health services for all in rural India is a big challenge due to various reasons.
Challenges in tackling Pandemic in rural India:
  • Disparities in access to health care between urban and rural India is high: For instance, 75 per cent of hospitals are in urban areas.
  • Denial attitude: People in rural India are hesitant to test themselves. Further, they are not willing to admit that they have the disease. This denial attitude is leading to the loss of lives.
  • Lack of Medical Kits for testing: Many in Rural India lack access to medicine, thermometers and oximeters.
  • All the above problems have complicated the availability of reliable data on the number of infected persons as well as the death caused by Covid-19. This resulted in ineffective planning. For instance, hurdles in Oxygen availability and allocation.
Suggestions to tackle Pandemic in rural India
  • Firstly, State officials and district commissioners should actively report both positive numbers and deaths. As it is important to have the right data. For this, mobile testing vans need to be introduced immediately.
  • Secondly, families with Covid-positive members should be given kits consisting of medicine, thermometers and oximeters. The delivery of the kits can be supplied through the panchayats.
  • Thirdly, a task force, consisting of all ward officers, district and municipal commissioners, should map out the demand for health care equipment. This will help Epidemiologists, experts and doctors to predict better the requirement of oxygen, medical devices, etc.
  • Fourthly, learning from the best practices of Mumbai administration.
    • Mobilisation of human resource: Mumbai used the food and drug administration department for planning the demand and ensuring the supply in the city.
    • Foresighted Planning: Every ward in the city of Mumbai also created an emergency stock of oxygen. This reduced the time to send supplies to hospitals running out of oxygen.
    • Building additional capacity rationally: One of the important lessons to be learnt from Mumbai is that hospitals should only increase beds if they can provide oxygen.
      • The state should also increase hospital capacity by creating additional oxygen plants with adequate ICU beds.
  • Fifthly, Decentralised decision-making and planning. The Union government should decentralise crucial decisions to the state governments.

These steps can ensure a better reduction rate of Covid-19 Pandemic in rural India.

Source: Indian Express


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