The Covid-19 pandemic changed our ways of living, doing business, and even the equation of our interpersonal relationships. The last three years were testing times for the entire world. As per estimates, over 7 million people have died. Some experts say that this number could be close to 20 million.
Other than deaths, the direct and indirect loss to people, nations, and the economy is devastating. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that the Covid-19 health emergency is over. The mortality rate has reached an all-time low.
However, we still need to be responsible, careful and exercise caution by wearing masks and adopting best health practices. The Covid-19 global health pandemic has split the time. People use phrases such as pre-lockdown and post-lockdown for mentioning events and behaviors of their life. A large population of the country has been fully vaccinated and booster doses are also easily available around the world.
Observations Related to Emergency Planning
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission found that we should have been better prepared to withstand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking their lessons from the Covid-19 experience, improvements in appropriate health crisis management and emergency response plan against global health pandemics are made by all entities accountable for better working mechanisms in the country.
History will repeat. But we need to learn from the past and ensure that the future is protected. Simple yet effective steps are to be taken for defending humanity against outbreaks of diseases in the future. These steps are:
Preparing the People
The Coronavirus pandemic caused unprecedented panic. A guideline as to pandemic-appropriate behavior, training, learning, and awareness for all must be mandated. So that when the next pandemic hits us we are ready for wearing masks and exercising social distancing norms.
Clear and consistent messaging is important. Easily understandable messages show how each of us has an important role in battling the pandemic.
Strengthening the Primary Health Care
It is of foremost importance that the primary healthcare system in the country is equipped with an initial emergency response plan and measure. In case of any injury or diseases people and communities first approach the primary healthcare centers.
Continuous monitoring at all levels of healthcare is required for prompt identification of outbreaks of diseases. Quick reporting and information sharing of the outbreak at local, state, national, and international levels will result in putting an early warning system and initiation of an emergency response plan. In short, the world over needs to strengthen effective surveillance and response systems.
Skilling and Prioritizing Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers are the hands and legs of an effective and strong healthcare system. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare workers worked tirelessly to take care of the people. They were responsible for the effective implementation of health crisis management.
For effective emergency planning, the nations need to recruit an adequate number of healthcare workers, train them with the required skill sets and lastly sensitize them to the needs of the vulnerable population.
These healthcare workers selflessly devote their lives to taking care of others. So it is of utmost importance that these frontline armies of people facing any outbreak must be always vaccinated first and are given the required financial and emotional assistance.
Proactive Identification of Leading Threats: Quick Vaccine Development
Experts believe that say the next pandemic will come from the family of coronavirus or influenza. Others could be Monekypoz, Zika Virus, ebola virus, MERS, etc. which could cause a global health crisis. Preparing for such outbreaks is the responsibility of nations, doctors, scientists, research and development wings, and the global pharma industry.
A joint concerted emergency planning effort by the governments, corporates, social development organizations, and civil society at large is needed to identify, predict and formulate vaccine development plans so that prompt actions and emergency response plans are put in place when the next outbreak begins.
As schools re-open and the children from urban slums and remote rural areas resume their classroom activities and have the opportunity to meet their friends again, we sincerely hope that the nation is well-prepared to handle another pandemic and this time, it won’t disrupt our lives like the Covid- 19 did.
Smile Foundation with its focus on transforming the lives of underserved families through holistic programmes of education, healthcare, women empowerment, and livelihood will always be at the forefront of every emergency that the nation faces like we did during the Covid-19 times.