- No single country in the entire world would lay claim to the fact that it could stay immune from the debilitating effects of the pandemic. More than the loss of precious lives and livelihoods owing to many a breadwinner losing out on earnings, the destructive trail left behind by the pandemic on the economy of countries is monumental. Irrespective of the pecking order, developed/underdeveloped/rich/poor, the severe beating subjected to on the economies are still very raw and would take a few years to revert to normalcy.
PC: Gaurav Noronha
- The devastating virus has also nakedly exposed the stark inadequacies of healthcare facilities struggling to provide timely succor and relief to millions of infected. As witnessed, many rich countries boasting of world-class healthcare infrastructure were brought to their knees. No need to look too far away from what is being witnessed in the United States of America, supposedly the most advanced nation in the world. Likewise, the Indian healthcare authorities too were faced with the daunting task of handling the emergency scare adequately. Thankfully, we are not mauled yet as anticipated earlier.
- Apprehensions regarding poor public healthcare infrastructure in the country and its abilities to square-off against the marauding virus were not completely unfounded. However, to its credit, the public facilities are holding up despite realization of upping the ante vis-à-vis scaling the infrastructure, not only physical but also professionals including but not restricted to doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab technicians, swab collectors, data entry operators, contact tracers, and sundry workforce, respectively demands consideration.
- With vaccines expected to be available in the coming months, the role of vaccinators too would assume greater importance alongside cold chain infrastructure to procure, store, transport, and administer the vaccine to a billion-plus population. During the peak of the pandemic, the country has witnessed crying inadequacies of public healthcare infrastructure that stood exposed, even in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad. Could overcome the challenges there is a big relief, indeed.
- One would be surprised to note the lack of priority accorded to public health in India as a mere 1.3 percent of the GDP is spent on healthcare, barely up from 0.9 percent two decades ago. As we are aware, a mere couple of months of disruption has rendered a body blow to our dream of a $ 5 trillion economy setting us back by at least a few years in terms of anticipated growth. One pandemic has rendered us gasping for breath, and many more could be lurking as India cannot afford to get caught napping a second time around.
PC: Geeta Jain
- Radical measures like lockdowns will place the economy in the ICU while the quest for vaccine development, testing, and manufacture continues. The only way to stay afloat is to hike public spending on health care as promised in the National Health Policy 2017. The authorities concerned should not flinch from such a twofold increase in spending facilitating interventions in multiple areas. Imagine having medical college hospitals in backward districts that would invariably lead to producing more doctors and nurses for underserved areas. Top priority should be accorded to these measures, and now.