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Dr Chandrakant Pandav, former head of community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, on Thursday said India is dealing with seven epidemics, one certainly is the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr Chandrakant Pandav, former head of community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, on Thursday said India is dealing with seven epidemics, one certainly is the COVID-19 crisis, but the other six deal with misinformation, Google experts and of misery to migrants and other serious patients who could not access healthcare in the lockdown,
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"We also have a pandemic of over-information, misinformation, distorted information. Other pandemic is of Google experts and the pandemic of fear (of COVID-19), which has been even worse than the virus,” Dr Pandav said in a conversation with CNBC TV18.
Pandemic of misery is another one which the country is currently dealing with, Dr Pandav added while talking of migrants, "The country was not prepared for the migrants moving, or for immunosuppressed people, those who need medical care for other diseases. Hospital have been locked, what happens to them?"
Talking of the government response to the pandemic, Dr Pandav highlighted how there is a need of the scientist, society and statesmanship working together, "How many public health experts you see that the government is consulting? There are only clinicians, cardiologists but not those who understand field level public health and behavioural sciences.”
Dr Pandav, who is also the president of International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, is one of the signatories of the joint letter that three medical professional associations had submitted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 25, that criticised the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the migrant crisis and said the lockdown was ‘draconian’.
The experts were members of the Indian Public Health Association, the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists.
The letter said, "The emerging evidence unequivocally indicates that COVID-19 worsened the health inequities, and public health measures need to make that concern central." It said the government not consulting with the public health experts and epidemiologists to make wiser decisions on controlling the spread of the virus.
Dr Pandav said the country now needs to focus on decentralising healthcare to manage COVID-19 and the focus has to be on identifying and isolating the super-spreaders.
"In fact, to be honest, I fail to understand why we greeted this lady so welcomingly. It's like any other virus, it's the seventh virus in the series and this is the 20th pandemic in the year 2020," he said, "Decentralisation would help in managing the disease now as we move forward to Unlock 1.0."
"We would see a series of decentralised health care centres coming up and there is the pathetic status of our primary healthcare, so decentralise the healthcare service system where people who are infected can be isolated, quarantined and taken care of appropriately," Dr Pandav said.
On a lighter note, he added that a seventh pandemic of webinars has also hit the country.
First Published: Jun 4, 2020 9:44 PM IST