People were asked to follow Covid appropriate behavior before vaccination and after vaccination. In this, information was given about wearing masks, taking care of hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance etc.
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After the very dangerous second wave of Corona, India took several steps from last year (2022) to prevent the spread of the epidemic. These include stakeholders at different levels, like the National Center for Disease Control, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and we also had the Ministry of Home Affairs, Because he was also involved in the Disaster Management Act.
Also, people were asked to follow Covid appropriate behavior before vaccination and after vaccination. In this, information was given about wearing masks, taking care of hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance etc.
Apart from this, there was another important point, ‘Investigation, treatment and monitoring’. Monitoring was our strength for the prevention of the epidemic. We monitored this entire epidemic very closely through our Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) platforms.
The most important and unique part of our vaccination program was that it was completely digital. We had the Kovid app, where we could see how many people have been vaccinated, how many people are to be vaccinated and what age group of people we have vaccinated. Everything was digital.
The outbreak of the second wave of Corona i.e. Delta variant was the deadliest in the country. At that time we had a shortage of oxygen. We had the Oxycare app, with the help of which the information about the availability of oxygen was digitised.
Apart from this, we had EduSet to make people aware through different electronic media platforms. Also, over time we kept moving forward with guidelines for patient care. So overall, I would say that we had a lot of pillars to deal with the pandemic completely.
In the end, tele-medicine was such an important thing, due to which people did not have to go to the doctor every time. People used to consult doctors on other platforms as well. And most importantly, which taught the whole world that patients can be treated at home as well, which not only empowered our doctors, but also our paramedical workers and created a lot of manpower at different levels.
From the point of view of public health, no disease can be completely eradicated. Especially, when we are talking about the respiratory infection SARS-CoV-2, which spreads very quickly.
If we look at India, the cases of corona infection here have been reduced to hundreds, while in China, more than 70 thousand cases were reported at the end of November, which is the biggest record ever. We do not know much about China’s Covid policy, as it is not available in the public domain. Whatever news we get related to China, it comes through the media only.
China never paid proper attention to vaccination, whereas India did not take any kind of negligence in it. And India’s way of working became a kind of role model for other countries.
It has come to the fore that China had to face opposition during the vaccination of the elderly. Actually, the Chinese government has failed to meet the needs of the elderly. In India, the elderly got vaccinated on priority basis as per the set norms, because the government was very active.
It was clearly said in the vaccination guidelines that first of all health workers, frontline workers will come and after that the elderly population of the country will be vaccinated. Also, we had a system in place from top to bottom to remove the hesitation of people, so that people came forward for vaccination. At the same time, China failed miserably in this matter.
After four decades of experience in the field of public health, I can say that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. In fact, China has never made its position public regarding the origin of the virus. As far as the cases of infection in China are concerned, I am also getting information only through the media, because China has completely cut itself off from the outside world. What can be said more than this that when the WHO team went to China, it also did not achieve anything special.
We are still grappling with what are the true facts regarding the origin and containment of the virus, but we also know that the policy of lockdown is never going to work.
If seen from another point of view, this situation becomes very important, because the borders of both the countries are contiguous. We do not want a situation like China to happen here as well. That too when we have controlled this disease to a great extent. The situation is that at present about 300-400 cases are being received daily in India. No one would want a situation like China to emerge in India as well.
China’s zero covid policy will not work at all from the point of view of public health to completely eliminate the cases of corona. This is like a disaster for a country like China. Actually, China knows a lot, due to which many countries of the world have demanded an inquiry under the leadership of the WHO team.
(Dr. Sunila Garg is the Ex-Sub-Dean and Head of the Department of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. She has also been the Chairperson of the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) of the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare. Also, He led two important national organizations Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Organized Medicine Academy as National President during 2021-22.)
(full interview) https://www.news9plus.com/all can be seen.)