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.
Shri Bhupesh Tiwari (President, Saathi Samaj Seva Sanstha, Chhattisgarh) shared his personal experiences through his organization among the rural communities of Bastar district of the state in view of the current situation of Covid. He specifically mentioned three-tier problems-
1. real challenges at the ground level,
2. issues of education and awareness at the community level and
3. Settlement of critical situations at the state administrative level, etc.
Under the rural system, administrative inadequacy or attitude, citing many other issues, lack of basic facilities of home-isolation in villages (absolute lack of extra rooms, toilets, bathrooms and water system in most of the houses) and proper implementation of protocols. Concern was expressed over non-compliance etc.
Apart from this, the lack of proper assessment of rural households by the government, only displaying the names of medicines through posters on the walls of health centers were some of the issues due to which the problem of Covid became acute. Also, due to the lack of food-collection instinct in the tribal areas (people of this community believe in getting things according to the need from nature) even after suffering from an infection, they themselves make all the arrangements for their family. Doing regular habits further increased the cases of Covid.
Giving information about the failure of home isolation in the state, Shri Tiwari condemned how the cases of infection have increased exponentially due to non-compliance of protocols in this direction.
In the same context, he said that while giving medicines to the people, the villagers do not have the knowledge of proper instructions (Medical-prescriptions are written in English language, how to take medicines etc. Due to lack of proper information about the use of other medical equipments (Oximeter, Oxygen-cylinder etc.), this problem is becoming serious.
Therefore, in order to control the rate of death, there is a need to give more emphasis on Institutional Quarantine Centers.
At the same time, there are misconceptions or misconceptions about the communities, encouraging more and more testing and vaccination at the village level. (So that it is only a few causative persons not to be blamed, such as testing or vaccinated on someone’s advice and found infected, resulting in the loss of a particular person’s life)Needs to be removed.
Since our State Governments are already burdened with duties, here in collaboration with the Civil Society, an ASHA worker was subjected to violence during the duty of vaccination on the basis of misconceptions (impotence and death) and the villagers protested. Local awareness has to be worked seriously so that the right information reaches the public about its real objectives.
In the end, Mr. Bhupesh Tiwari, while advocating for providing all the basic facilities at the quarantine centers in the village, also kept the view that due to the lack of uniformity in the circumstances and resources of each place, area etc. (generalization solution is not possible) on these. The same type of action plans cannot be implemented, therefore, considering the available conditions of the areas facing this direction, a decision will have to be taken and a solution will be found.
Concluding his discussion, requesting the district administration that “home-isolation” in Bastar should be stopped as soon as possible because it is a complete failure. At the same time, referring to the contradictory schemes in the case of the nutrition tracker at the village level, it too has been described as a failed strategy in fighting the calamity of Covid.