To discuss the pertinent topic of the time, measures to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas and the health crisis following the Pandemic, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Department of Social Work, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli, and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion with eminent panelists on “Rural Realities | Tamil Nadu Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave”on May 22, 2021.
The IMPRI team gave a brief presentation on the overview of the state of Tamil Nadu by tracing the COVID 19 situation since the first wave. These were presented by setting a backdrop on the state’s performance in the socio and economic indicators.
The first panelist in line Mr. D Kotteswara Rao, Assistant Director, Schizophrenia Research Foundation (India); Member, State mental Health Authority (SMHA), Government of Tamil Nadu, expressed his concerns on struggles of the differently-abled. While plans have been set in place to take care of the needs of the differently-abled and the mentally disabled, the policies lack clarity on accessibility. For instance, a disability camp has been set up, but 108 is not allowed to carry the mentally disabled. Additionally, there is a dire scarcity of psychiatric medicines in the rural areas adding to the woes of the existing crisis.
According to Mr D Kotteswara Rao, the way forward is the set-up of a centralized system to reallocate resources to the needy.