As the second wave of the covid pandemic rages across our country, engulfing the rural spaces of India, IMPRI has been organizing state-wise discussion to discuss practitioners experiences in tackling the second wave concerning rural realities. Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on “Rural Realities | Punjab and Haryana Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on 19 May 2021.
The Team at IMPRI initiated the discussion by contextualizing the condition of Punjab and Haryana. Through an audio-visual presentation, the geographic location, socio-economic indicators, the state of the pandemic and emerging issues of both states were laid out in front of the audience.
TRANSITION FROM PREVENTION TO TREATMENT: LACK OF AWARENESS AND ACCESS
Ms Anjali Makhija talked about how the concern was with prevention in the first phase, but now the transition has been into treating the disease. The lack of testing in the rural regions is a significant cause of concern, along with the inability of the people to distinguish between the symptoms of covid and that of the common flu. Furthermore, Ms Makhija talked about the lack of infrastructure and how there is a need to focus on medical staff and the lack of proper equipment.
She also mentioned the role of community radio in alleviating myths and concerns about covid and vaccines. Significantly women have been worst affected in the second wave, wherein they have specific responsibilities to shoulder and a severe lack of access to healthcare despite sickness.
THE WAY FORWARD
In talking about the way forward, Ms Makhija highlighted a neglected concern of how smaller organizations don’t often have the necessary permissions and compliances to procure materials from abroad, resulting in them getting in legal troubles.
She concluded by saying that awareness and access to medical supplies need to go hand in hand for rural Haryana to survive.