Over the past year and a half, we have all been familiar with words like COVID-19, pandemic, lockdown, mutants and variants, etc. India went through the second wave of COVID-19, and it wreaked havoc throughout the country, and such community disruptions can have profound and long-lasting impacts.
During such difficult times, we are compelled to ask a few questions, which not only define the current scenario but also refine our potential possibilities.
Were we prepared for the second wave?
Have we previously taken this virus for granted?
Is it possible that this scenario may have been avoided?
Is it time for a reboot of our healthcare system?
COVID-19 does not need any introduction or explanation. All things considered, whenever clarified in the least difficult of terms, it will be as per the following:
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is an unusual illness brought about by the newly found coronavirus. Most patients infected with the COVID-19 virus will have mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and recover without needing special medical supervision. People above the age of 65, as well as those with existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are at a higher risk of developing a severe illness.
The excursion of this infection in India began on January 27, 2020, when a 20-year-old female presented to the Emergency Department in General Hospital, Thrissur, Kerala, with a one-day history of dry cough and throat.
Soon we had 2.19 crore cases; indeed, we made progress. A matter of pride? Surely not. A matter of stress for us? Unquestionably yes.
"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. To understand how much that works out in a year, you will need a calculator."
That is how the pandemic year can be explained.
When the pandemic showed up, the National Health Profile 2019 information showed an expected 0.55 government clinic beds for 1000 individuals. India had only 48,000 ventilators at the time of the outbreak against the requirement for 1,50,000 ventilators. Twenty-seven crore individuals in 64 areas across 13 states do not have a solitary blood donation centre. There are just seven doctors for every 1000 individuals. Then comes corruption where only the rich benefit—people and not the state deal with 57.57% of health care expenditure.
It is, hence, apparent that states have not put resources into the medical infrastructure of our country. Along these lines, this delayed underinvestment in comprehensive health support left millions looking at the exceptionally popularised private sector for help. Which centres around making the most out of their clients with minimal administrative oversight.
The rural areas face yet another disadvantage as they do not even have such private hospitals for their treatment and are left at the mercy of government hospitals.
"Home turns into a sanctuary from storms, a wide range of tempests."
India struggled with the first rush of COVID-19 by declaring a nationwide lockdown. We lost numerous lives in this stage, yet at the same time, we figured out how to return to routine. We, as humans, are strong. We figured out how to flourish in the new normal when we had that outlook and assets; we needed to adjust.
The phase of unlocking began at last. We were on the edge of combating COVID-19 as the cases were decreasing. The cricket matches began, the rallies started with hoards of people, a portion of the organisations resumed, colleges opened, though blended method, etc. However, before the end of March, we were hit by the second influx of COVID 19, which ended up being more terrible than the first one. In the second wave, it hit rural India, and the cases and deaths quadrupled.
The COVID-19 prompted pandemic uncovered yet another series of squeaks in healthcare facilities across the globe. In India, the void of a predetermined number of clinics, crippling clinical foundations, and confined admittance to medical services led to India recording almost 300,000 cases per day. The second rush of the pandemic collapsed the country's healthcare framework.
The latest data from the Global Burden of Disease Study shows that deaths from contagious diseases in India are much higher than the global average. According to the National Health Profile 2019, over 50% of all deaths due to communicable diseases in 2018 were respiratory diseases and pneumonia, symptoms common with those of COVID-19. India is more vulnerable to epidemics than countries like China and Italy- the most affected in the COVID-19 episode.
The above factors legitimise the assertion: "Indeed, India needs a healthcare reboot in the years to come. So, we can fight such startling pandemics better in the future."
Medical clinics should adjust and advance to treat patients with and without COVID-19 to guarantee nobody bites the dust due to the absence of therapy. Elective systems can be deferred for some time; however, they cannot be delayed inconclusively. We are, as of now, seeing intricacies of nerve bladder stones getting septic and individuals getting respiratory failures, which might have been avoided. Isolated COVID-19 clinics and wards, solid contamination control, and the executives' conventions will ensure the well-being of staff and patients.
It is high time for us to decide whether to deal with a medical services reboot in India or wait for another pandemic to further highlight the changes and holes in our clinical framework and then re-evaluate.
The author trusts that the concerned authorities will make a noticeable and robust stride towards this path to expect a better post-pandemic season in our country.