To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave of the pandemic in rural areas, and stressed Medical Facilities 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| Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand | Practitioner’s Experience in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages on May 17, 2021.
The esteemed panelists were Dr PC Negi, Professor and head, Department of Cardiology, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh; Renu Thakur, Secretary, Association of Rural planning and action, Askote, Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand; Shankar Datt, Founder member and Treasurer, Shramyog, Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Dr Anil Jaggi, Founder, Venture, Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
Dr OP Bhuraita, Chairman, State resource centre, Himachal; Prof Sas Biswas, Professor and head, Department of Forestry, Dolphin Post graduate Institute of Biomedical and natural sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Dr Jitender Kumar Mokta, Professor of Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical college and hospital, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Prevention is cost effective
Dr Jitender Kumar Mokta expressed his concern over the fact that it took 191 days for COVID cases to peak in India in the first wave on 16 September 2020 and in second wave there has been a rapid upsurge in April 2021 which India was not able to control. Hamirpur, Mandi, Kangra, Solan were severely impacted in Himachal Pradesh.
Festivals and local marriages are also the cause of concern because people find it difficult to not meet their loved ones during such auspicious events. Many people perceive COVID similar to cold which is really worrying as we cannot take this virus lightly. 10, 000 to 18,000 COVID positive cases were detected in a week in February which is alarming.
According to Dr Mokta, we need to pay more attention to the public behaviour as it is a people’s virus. We need to understand that Prevention is better than cure. Avoid gatherings and be pro-active. Wearing the mask reduces the infection by 20-25% according to Centre for disease control (CDC).
Information and communication technology can play a vital role in public awareness. Nobody knows the nature of this virus. Hard times require hard measures. Everybody has to work together. Dr Mokta suggested following measures to contain the spread of this virus.
2. Social -distancing
3. Good hygiene
4. Vaccination: More than 60% vaccinated in Himachal Pradesh.
Dr. Mokta answered the question regarding masking; he said that public should do double masking to safeguard themselves in an effective manner. Psycho-social issues also need to be addressed, teachers can play a vital role here. Everybody should help each other during these turbulent times.