In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities during the COVID-19 pandemic around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized a panel discussion on “Rural Realities | Maharashtra Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 13, 2021.
The IMPRI team informed the discussion by locating for the event participants the situation of COVID-19 in India and Maharashtra. The team also provided an insight into the geography and Socio economic conditions of the state. The rationale was to provide the participants with an overview of the state of Maharashtra.
Equitable Health System
Dr Dhananjay Kakade, Head of Institution at Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI), Pune, asserted that COVID-19 will have an immediate mid-term and generational impact. We need to focus on the health system. A long-term view is required. There is distress at the community level which needs our immediate attention. Many kids are out of school which is going to have a long-term impact on the psychological health of the children. COVID-19 has impacted people in an unequal way. The basics of our health systems are not in place. Common people have many questions like “Why actors and celebrities are getting beds and not us?” There is Socio-economic influence in the ladder.
We need to have a comprehensive picture to assess the impact. COVID-19 has a multi-dimensional impact on people. There is a deep crisis going on. Sheer apathy and ignorance from the decision-makers and state apparatus to equip the frontline workers to deal with this pandemic as ASHA workers don’t have necessary medical equipment. Scientific based information needs to be generated. Insurance needs to be provided to ASHA and Anganwadi workers.
Traditional fault lines became more prominent in COVID-19. PSAs are ill equipped. The impact of this pandemic will be much more-worse on the marginalized sections. For some, Pandemic is an opportunity to make profits also as black marketing has been reported of essential medical drugs.
We need an equitable health system. Civil society organizations role in changing the governance structure of the state is crucial. A new vision is required and can Public-private partnerships be the future is a question that needs more discussion.