To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas affecting community, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Karnataka Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave” on May 21, 2021.
The esteemed panelists were Dr. Basavaraju R Shreshta, Executive Director, Grassroots Research And Advocacy Movement (GRAAM), Mysore; Dr. Priya Shanmugam, Faculty, Department of Economics, Mount Carmel College Autonomous, Bengaluru; Mr. Leo Saldanha, Founding Trustee and Coordinator, Environment Support Group, Bengaluru; Mr. Nitesh Kumar Jangir, Co-Founder, Coeo Labs Pvt. Ltd. (An InnAccel Division), Bengaluru.
In Panel Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, Associate Professor, Public Health, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College, The University of Arizona; Dr. Nazrul Haque, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru; Dr. M R Seetharam, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon, Vivekananda Memorial Hospital; Core Member, SVYM and Dr. Jyotsna Jha, Director, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bengaluru as the discussant.
Dr. Basavaraju R Shreshta remarked that when there is a war, everybody is a soldier, therefore his organization is working at the ground level to help people. Karnataka is showing positivity rate over 25%. Testing is reduced substantially and syndromic approach to treat the cases is followed. The reality of rural areas- “We eat well, work hard and we do not have to worry.
Reach the Community
The challenge of an infodemic world wherein myths and rumors spread quickly as people believe hospitals are not safe and at-least they will die at home peacefully. There are small houses and shared toilets in rural areas making home isolation difficult. There are no oximeters and thermometers at the community level and focus is more on treatment than prevention. Also, there is lack of basic safety materials to frontline workers.
Lack of information about hospitals at the village level is a major challenge. The role of village panchayat is important and critical.
He lays down the PANCH-TANTRA GRAMA-MANTRA:
- Strengthening the gram panchayat
- Building team of youth volunteers
- Engaging community- based organisations
- Supporting community health personnel
- Mobilising civil society support
Dr Basavaraju said that it is a public health issue and we need public support. Dr. Priya Shanmugam advocated on strengthening the state fiscal capacity. PURA (Provision of Urban Rural Amenities) mission of APJ Abdul Kalam needs to be adopted.
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