The panel discussion was focused upon the conditions of the Indian villages and to share the insights and experiences of the practitioners located in the respective locations. The panel discussion is a part of an expansive series of discussions themed upon the rural realities of Indian villages in the face of the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The discussions are organized by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the 15 May 2021.
The program was commenced by the Assistant Director at IMPRI Ritika Gupta. Followed by which were the opening remarks from Dr. Simi Mehta Editorial CEO at IMPRI. The speakers were introduced and the foreground was laid for the conversation to begin in regards to the ground reality of the villages in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in the Second Wave of the COVID Pandemic from the eyes and experiences of the practitioners.
Rural Health System
Dr. Kushwaha Shashi Bhushan Mehta, another MLA from Jharkhand state, took the discussion forward and shared detailed information about his constituency and the efforts made by the private and state government in the context of COVID-19. He said that a large part of the rural population of Jharkhand state is still residing in forests, for whom access to basic health facilities is undoubtedly a major obstacle. Describing this second wave of COVID-19 as more frightening than the previous, he said that earlier it was limited only in big cities, but now it is spreading badly in rural areas of the country.
At the same time, while accepting the shortcomings and constraints of the health system and other resources, etc., he shared his experience, emphasizing the importance of vaccination and its imperative – considering it as the last protection cover. In this sequence, he reiterated the need to comply with all government instructions related to COVID and lockdown, to make people aware about vaccination etc.
Further highlighting the problem of untrained or petty doctors in rural areas, he said that their role and efforts are commendable in this critical situation because they are handling the rural health system to a great extent, so by giving them proper training at the earliest. There is a need to be empowered and recognized and availed of their services and experiences.
Apart from this, the Honorable MLA expressed concern, citing the uncertainty of COVID, how this global problem has badly affected the education system and pushed an entire generation to the back foot of development, which in the coming times will be a challenge for the government. Will prove to be a big challenge. Also, every activity related to human life has been hurt once again by the second wave like agriculture, the problem of misuse of public distribution system etc.
At the same time, he advised people to avoid loss of life by gaining awareness to clear the confusion regarding the symptoms of covid and other diseases.
At the same time, while answering the question of the use of MLA Fund, he made others aware of the ground realities and problems and showed his constant commitment to cooperate with the public with this fund. In this sequence, he is coordinating with civil surgeons in the direction of strengthening health facilities at the village level.