In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi and International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities |Kerala | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 20, 2021, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.
The IMPRI team informed the discussion by locating for the event participants the situation of COVID 19 in India and Kerala. 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 Kerala.
Proactive Approach in responding to COVID-19
Dr. Sriram Venkitaraman Joint Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Govt of Kerala stated that the pandemic is not only concerned with health vertical but it has effected every aspect of human beings life hence it is important that all stakeholders from the society work diligently in all the roles and responsibilities allotted to them.
Throwing light on good governance aspects of Kerala, he stated the Kerala has grass root level decentralized structure with bottom up approach that came to rescue and acted as a pillar of strength as we go through first and second wave of the pandemic.
Stating the governments take on the pandemic crisis he said that right from the first wave the Kerala government acted proactively to understand that the pandemic is going to be big in the future and prepared accordingly keeping in view the crisis, we all have undergone during the second wave.
Elucidating his point he points that Kerala government formed a rapid response team at the state level for responding to any urgent or unexpected situation that would come in the future. Talking about the infrastructure vertical he said that Kerala government was quick to realize that hospitals alone would not be able to handle the situation and decided to establish front line centers outside hospitals for taking care of patients who are mildly symptomatic and did not require full hospital setup for taking care.
There were more one lakh beds set up outside the hospitals in the scenario. Secondly Kerala was proactive in testing with contact tracing, preparing route maps and ensuring that all the contacts were quarantining and tested. He further said that human resource of Kerala in every sector is probably its biggest strength.