Dr. V K Singh
Editor-in-Chief & MD,
We are exploring an unknown territory that is COVID-19. We have gone through the misery of one year Lockdown of schools, offices, businesses and problems of migrant labourers unheard in the past. We have come to know many challenges due to Pandemic which was unexplored. Is it a repeat of a century old Spanish flu or is it a new problem? We are experimenting with medical treatment of Covid without any clinical protocol. The vaccines are also having unknown outcomes like how long it could be effective and would it be effective against mutant virus. The Pandemic has brought new challenges and forced the government and community to think about overcoming it and to explore opportunities to handle challenges. Can one calculate human and economic losses and how to overcome them? Vaccination would take many years to completely cover the population as planned now, would it control pandemic. The new spike of pandemic can be told as the second wave of pandemic. We have lost touch with realities by not wearing masks, no social distancing is maintained as seen in political rallies, farmer’s protest and religious congregation. Many times, it is photo edited by political leadership for media publicity by giving sermons without following norms themselves. We cannot predict anything except it is a long battle and maybe it turns out to be endemic by the end of year 2022.
India has made its mark in the international community by exporting /donating vaccines. As per Niti Aayog report released on March 30, 2021, India’s healthcare industry has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth rate of around 22% since 2016 and expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022. Pandemic has not only thrown challenges for the health sector but even opportunities. Indian health sector has become one of the largest sectors in terms of both revenue and employment. Pandemic has forced everyone to give due priority to the health sector, a quantum jump in allocation of resources. Whatever may be the scenario of the post-pandemic, health sector, would be on the top priority list for development. A lot has been done in the health sector through Atmanirbhar, innovations and National Digital Health Mission. It is known fact that every catastrophe does bring development, growth, and new avenues of survival. The behaviour of community to some extent has also changed for good. We have handled pandemic well compared to many developed countries. We credit both the community and govt for it however we should not be complacent to tackle the second wave.
There is going to be enormous digital data generation and increased online traffic by conducting online webinars, conferences and training, Cybersecurity is a new discipline which healthcare workers must acquaint themselves with. New technologies and tools like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain are becoming part of the healthcare delivery system. One also must take guard of social media providing distorted information or at times misinformation. These are new challenges in the post-pandemic era.
India has already made a mark in the global community by excelling in many areas related to healthcare. We have become exporters of many items needed to handle pandemic. We need to revamp the healthcare system in view of learnings from this biological disaster. There is a need to strengthen the public health system and improve quality of life to overcome this type of menace. We can not be complacent and must take all possible precautions to fight the pandemic. Vaccination is not the only answer but basic protocols should also be adhered like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and frequent hand sanitization. A slogan to be always remembered. See visuals to know how badly we are following it. Sincere efforts are required by everyone to implement.