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CORONA AND INDIA

Gurrit K Sethi, Hospital COO, Care Hospitals

As the world watches us on how we deal with the COVID-19 crisis, there are learnings we can take from this experience and evolve our emergency tool box for creating a robust disaster management for such outbreaks. And of course there are lessons for each one of us on 'social re-learnings' that are much required. No doubt that these can also contribute to many parts of the world as well. Let’s put our best foot forward.

Much as I would like to be talking / thinking about Corona the Beer, in the present tense it is Corona the Virus that is taking up much mind space. As we hear of the numbers swinging up, one sees, hears, and feels a sense of fear, anger on presence and absence of responsibility to the various causes as well as the spread of it.

A lot has been said and heard about symptoms and preventive methods. The government has done and continues to attempt a great job in spreading awareness on curtailing the tiny monster. Especially by way of compulsory to hear notices as part of a telecom campaign, or by stamping travellers, it has ensured that the message reaches one and all, however annoying they may find it to be. Being part of the healthcare ecosystem, I have witnessed the public and the private sector come together beautifully for preparedness. Prevention methods, appointment of nodal officers, preparation and ear marking of acute care beds, quarantine facilities, etc., happened in record time. All this along with the evacuation of our citizens is indeed applaudable.

Biological warfare or not, this is definitely not the end of the current episode, not only in India, but worldwide. Moreover, this is not going to be the last episode. All of the steps taken need to finally emerge and evolve into a well thought out doctrine for emergency / disaster control and management protocol. For action on field, as well as critical back end support of equipment and material availability. There is also a need to stamp out economic opportunism in times of distress.

From what one has heard, this may not be a lethal virus in terms of fatalities. However, since this proceeds the other slightly more lethal ones like swine flu, Ebola, SARS etc., and all of these have come about repeatedly and then stayed, we do need to learn lessons on daily living but also preparedness to counter such elements at a much earlier stage.

It indeed is spooky that somewhere, even though in fiction, we human beings did predict such happenings. When one watches movies like Virus, Contagion and others, one is definitely pushed to the edge of fear.

This needs to evolve into a compulsory awareness for many youngsters around the world on advantages and fallouts in their careers based on choices of professions they make, especially the personal dangers one might face with this and other infections. Also, based on these dangers, a more a thorough training regimen about how to navigate these situations needs to be created — for not only the doctors but also the other medical staff. Like when someone joins the defence forces, there is no doubt in the minds that one is being trained for war.

While Corona is dealt with iron hands, there are certain hygiene factors that we as a community need to adopt now and then stick to it. The country of yummy food and yoga needs to learn to adopt these healthy practices into daily living. And using Shoba De’s phrase, we ‘touchy feely’ Indians need to learn the art of ‘social distancing’ basically physical distancing. We need to learn to give physical space to each other especially at bus stands, railway stations, markets, lifts and all queues…something that will help us not only today but always.

Last but not the least, better civic sense is only expected from the educated lot – self acceptance, selfdeclaration and following of advisories.

--Issue 48--

Author Bio

Gurrit K Sethi

Gurrit K Sethi Hospital Chief Operating Officer, Care Hospitals; Strategic Advisor for Global Health Services, Global Strategic Analysis, contributes to healthcare by helping providers build and better business efficiencies and concept development, also strives to contribute socially through the Swiss Foundation, Global Challenges Forum as Strategic Advisor, through conception of sustainable health initiatives. She started her career from the shop floor working her way up to lead and set up different healthcare businesses. In her words, her significant achievements have been in bringing to life different SMEs and SBUs signifying a change in the Indian healthcare scenarios, as the opportunity paved the way along the healthcare growth curve in the country. With over 18 years in healthcare under her belt, across different healthcare verticals, she has carried transformational changes in the projects she has led, four of those being early stage start-ups. Gurrit is an avid traveller and voracious reader of varied genres, attributes which she says, provide her with incisive insights about people and systems and what drives them.

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