This panel discussion was related to the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of COVID in Indian villages. It was organized by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and “Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi” on 20th May 2021 by the joint efforts of “Parmarth Sevi Sanstha” (Uttar Pradesh). This discussion was another episode of the “Panel Discussion” being organized by the institute for all the states of the country, whose central point should be the rural reality of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and the issues related to it.
This program was initiated by Ritika Gupta (Assistant Director) of “Institute of Impact and Policy Research”. Dr Simi Mehta (Chief Executive Officer and Editorial Director, Impact and Policy Research Institute) while preparing the background for this panel discussion, while welcoming all the visitors said that the goal of this is to find out by presenting a proper discussion. What is the present status of the second wave of COVID in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and what are the efforts being made at the ground level by various stakeholders in this regard?
The list of eminent panellists who mainly participated in this panel discussion is as follows- Dr Smt. F. Kazmi (Executive Director, NGO “Parvarish Child Development & Health Care Institute”), Dr Sanjay Singh (Waterman of Bundelkhand, Secretary, Parmarth Samaj Seva Sansthan), Dr Yogesh Kumar (Founder Member & Executive Director, Support – Development Assistance Centre), Shri Devi Das (Farmer MG, Support), Ms Abha Sharma (Director, Judav Foundation, Bhopal), Shri Bhupesh Tiwari (President, Fellow Social Service Organization, Chhattisgarh). Mr Rakesh Paliwal (Retd. Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and Mrs Anjali Noronha (Fellow, Eklavya) and Dr Anshuman Karoli (Lead – Local Government, Priya, (PRIA) New Delhi) etc.
Dr. Gajendra Singh (Health Officer, UNICEF, Chhattisgarh) shared a different view about this phase of Covid, saying that although this virus was there since last year, but then we did not see so many cases, its one The reason is also believed to be that at this time, the accelerating government efforts of Covid-testing going on in the country also registered a proportionate increase in the figures of infection, as a result of which the cases of death of Covid also increased.
At the same time, the state governments were also mistaken in understanding the nature of this global epidemic, without anticipating its dire consequences, they gave free rein to the general public by giving a free hand to the general public and vaccination (the youth of the country right now). Compared to the population, especially the people of 45 years or above, the age group of 60 years or above are vulnerable to this wave) while living – themselves invited for the orgy of Covid.
Apart from this, he also challenged the presumptuous behavior of the villagers towards this epidemic. According to the current information of the Government of India, Covid cases have decreased in places like Chhattisgarh, Indore in Madhya Pradesh etc. There is also a challenge in this direction, on what basis rural and urban areas are selected and classified in the direction of policy making and data collection.
Therefore, to get rid of these assessment-related weaknesses, providing correct data to the civil society while bearing the responsibilities along with the state government is an absolute trick. At the same time, he stressed that in this phase, attention will have to be paid to aspects like surveillance, testing, isolation and counselling at the village level.
Also, keeping this wave in mind, appropriate therapeutic initiatives under L1 and L2 need to be properly grounded. Testing is an essential step without ignoring the symptoms of infection in any way, as well as there is a need to identify and trace such corona carriers, who are not performing their duty by not showing awareness of the symptoms and testing.
In addition, Dr Singh shared the highlights of the Government of India’s press briefing on the upcoming plans for COVID on the same day.
Apart from this, by making available sufficient quantities of oximeters, thermometers, etc. at the village level, there will be no delay in the symptoms of Covid in the villagers, for this the role of public movement and volunteers becomes indispensable.
The concept of testing can be worked out in only two ways at the village level – one mobile testing for every 10 villages – availability of vans and in order to speed up testing, testing methods like rapid antigen test will have to be adopted.
Along with this, it is necessary to work towards providing proper arrangements for testing of Covid at all primary, community health and sub-centres, providing adequate quantity of medicines and etc. in Jan Aushadhi centers along with other medical facilities. For this, communities are organized. There is a great need for future action plans on socio-economic issues at the grassroots level, in the end, he also cited the efforts of UNICEF.