The World is undergoing the worst period of all times as it is gripped with the novel Coronavirus which affected more than 1.8 million people apart from squashing the economy with an unprecedented exponential rise in unemployment. Yet, we have to look for an opportunity even in the hardest times because the hope of moving forward will let the fear go and give the energy to address the problems. As John Adams said ‘Every problem is an opportunity in a disguise’. Hence, we peek into the opportunities that might help us to move ahead with positive vibes.
It is dismay to mention that in FY 2020 India spent a meager 1.29% of its GDP towards health which is roughly around Rs. 200 per person. Also, it is daunting to note that there are almost 12 states which spent just 1% of their GDP on healthcare. We have now realized that it is important to spend on health during this crisis period and hope the government will pump a huge share of around 5% of GDP in post-covid era besides subsidizing loans towards building a resilient health infrastructure along with a strong focus on research and development so that we should be capable of handling unexpected epidemic or pandemic diseases.
This field was unexplored by the mediocre people of our country. It was assumed that innovation belongs to the genius class of people who has high degrees and also a command in science and technology. But, as it is said, Necessity is the mother of invention, the common strata, all of sudden reconnoitered in this field and they came up with the awesome innovations like low-cost ventilators, customized face masks, Artificial Intelligence based tracing apps and smart sight face masks, humanoid robots, surveillance through drones, disinfectant chambers, etc.
All these innovations were encouraged in Telangana state by K. Taraka Rama Rao (Hon’ble Minister of Information Technology, Commerce & Municipal Administration, Telangana) with assistance from Jayesh Ranjan (Principal Secretary, Information Technology) on Twitter. Hope, this trend will reflect in other states too, thereby boosting the morale of youth and it might contribute to the development of our nation.
The Kerala model for fighting covid-19 is appreciated everywhere because they have resorted swiftly by sending people to quarantine even before the center announced lockdown. Also, Kerala had previous experience in combating the deadly Nipah and Zika viruses where it learned that rapid action with effective measures will break down numbers on the chart. It had devised a strategy of aggressive testing of suspected patients, tracing down the contacts with route map, cordoning off affected areas, providing shelter and a cooked meal for migrant workers, maintaining transparency through press conferences regarding the cases so that people should not panic. This model has to be followed by all states and also they should bring some new ideas flowing to it to enhance the efficiency in dealing with these kinds of diseases.
Research and Development
Many countries in the world are perplexed in dealing with covid-19. We need to push further in this arena to get over potential vaccines or drugs as soon as any disease goes off in the air. The countries like UK and Netherlands are looking for ‘Herd immunity’ to be built upon to take on the novel virus as it prevents the infectious disease from spreading by immunizing a certain percentage of the population. There might be also a chance that after entering into a particular geographical region, the virus may change its strain or simply it may go clinically silent in most patients. To study all these factors, a quality setup in research and development is needed.
Climate change and Environment
The restrictions on human activities due to lockdown resulted in a reduction of carbon emissions globally. The effective shutdown of industries and lesser usage of motorways has brought greenhouses emission gases by almost 40% which will improve the health aspects of people who were suffering from lung and heart diseases. Besides climate change, noise pollution has also come down significantly as fewer vehicles are plying.
The relatively smaller amount of petroleum used in these vehicles can also contribute to its sustainable usage. Hence, this pandemic can be seen as a benediction in the veil.
Rather than getting melancholy over the emergence of problems, we must search for the opportunities in it.
The views and opinions expressed in this opinion article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.