Saturday, 11 July 2020

Facing the Aftermath of a Pandemic

01 June 2020 | Views

Scientists must work on possible drug discovery or vaccines, and make them accessible to all

Image Credit: shutterstock.com

Image Credit: shutterstock.com

Corona pandemic has thrown the world out of gear completely. Despite all the panic, anger, frustration and helplessness it is time for us to introspect. We must make use of this time and holidays should be converted into a course of learning apart from self training and self discipline. Primarily the concept of oneness should emerge, encompassing not only the family, nation but the world as one family. Every future act of ours should contribute to the humanity in general. The decisions for now and tomorrow should be implemented collectively with similar zeal and spirit.

Government of India has taken a very bold decision in implementing lock down and made it successful. It is an important step to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. This is only a beginning. We must be ready to face every eventuality with all preparedness. This is the second step. Thirdly, we all must combat the aftermath of multiple impacts the nation and world at large is going to face steadily to bring the nation back on wheels.

As doctors we must learn and implement newer innovative isolation methods starting from investigations, diagnostics and treatments. We must at all time be vigilant for the reinfection and recycling effects of the virus. Optimize all the resources and focus on scaling up of man power and health of health care professionals. Supply chain has to be optimized to meet the demands and control of pricing is crucial. As of now 10% of medical professionals were affected all over the world with Covid infection. This itself will have a great impact apart from the enormous loss of resources. We must build large medical teams along with robust protective systems to safe guard them as well as all frontline people.

Manufacturers should focus on special masks, protecting devices, and should be stored sufficiently enough as a preparedness initiative. Scientists must work on possible drug discovery or vaccines, and make them accessible to all. Pharma industry must leap onto large scale production with priority for the essential drugs and items.

It is going to be sometime for the people to gather courage to fly in an aeroplane, join in festivities, participate in social gatherings or professionals to attend a conference. We must find ways to continue education and knowledge transfer programmes through technology. It has lot of implications on education in general and for medical education particularly to the surgical training. Hindrance to these programmes will affect the manpower resources for the coming years.

The economy on the whole world will alter and new dynamics should emerge in such a way that we don’t loose the base and the progress we have made over the years. It is really hard to contemplate the real impact right now. Right solutions should come once we understand the situation completely. Sharing and learning across and beyond borders will play a crucial role in greater understanding and to come up with reasonable solutions.

According to me the most dangerous animal we have seen in our history is the “Mosquito”.It has been a single vector responsible for millions of deaths, and secondly, the “Marmite” that has spread plague and wiped out one third of population in Europe and other counties. Unfortunately if the Covid turns out to be a bio terrorism the third in the list will be “Man” himself ( 3Ms).

So the future emphasis should be on education, awareness and preparedness. It is worth reiterating the advice given by Mr Bill Gates in 2015. “We must build strong health systems, create a huge medical reserve, we must pair medical systems and army to execute effective actions in a crisis like this, and create robust diagnostic and vaccine research and industry, to build simulation systems which he calls as “germ games” to create awareness and preparedness”. The amount we invest on these is real worth than the loss of economy associated with these pandemics he concludes.

At the international level we must strengthen the bodies and platforms to resolve issues and to enforce policies uniformly and globally. Representation should be equal to all Nations regardless of their individual status. It should be a collective participation for the Humanity.“Every pandemic is a wake-up call” and hopefully we shall all wake up for the better future.

 

Dr NK Venkataramana, Founder & Chief Neurosurgeon, BRAINS, Bengaluru

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