- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- GS-2: Issues related to Health & Governance
Preparing for Third Wave
Context: The fact that India faced a severe second wave of infections, which overwhelmed the health infrastructure, has underlined the importance of preparing well for the third wave.
Here are five things that must be done to reduce the impact of a possible third wave of Covid-19 infections.
- Increase Vaccination Pace
- The pace of vaccinations will matter the most in determining whether or not there is a nation-wide third wave.
- Therefore, government needs to increase the pace of vaccination.
- Testing facilities need to be expanded
- Testing in time and isolating infected patients is the key to containment of Covid-19 infections.
- 31 out of the 735 districts in the country had no sample collection centre. 99 had just one collection centre. Clearly, this needs to change, if the pandemic has to be monitored better
- People, especially the poor, need to be encouraged to seek medical advice
- Lack of health facilities in proximity and affordability are reasons for not seeking medical advice among the poor.
- One of the biggest reason for not taking medical advice for treatment across classes is the ailment not being considered serious.
- There needs to be behavioural change when it comes to suspected patients seeking early testing and treatment as Covid-19 begins with common symptoms such as fever and cold.
- Acknowledge the financial burden of Covid-19 hospital admissions
- An average Covid-19 hospitalisation case is likely to cost much more than ₹50,000.
- Providing certain help from government side like soft loans from banks for COVID hospitalisation expenses will go a long way in preparing for third wave.
- Expanding health insurance cover will help
- Over three-fourth of hospitalisation cases in India involved individuals who were not covered by a health expenditure insurance or scheme, according to the 2017-18 NSO survey.
- The Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) which was rolled out in 2018 needs to expanded and modified to suit the needs of Pandemic times.
Connecting the dots:
- Economic Survey 2020-21 on Health
- Health Data Management Policy: National Digital Health Mission
- Indian Health Worker Brain Drain