The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic taught us lessons which we could perhaps not learn till years or until any crisis like now befell us in future. The most immediate lesson is the focus on healthcare – on state as well as individual level. The investment in healthcare has now assumed an indispensable significance, avoiding or delaying which will not only be foolish but also be the most brazen negligence on our part. This is because we were exposed to the vulnerability of the kind and magnitude beyond our imagination and despite months of the spread of the virus we yet to come to terms with the unprecedented nature of the outbreak.
While the virus continues to spread across the world like wildfire, there are lessons and lessons (from failures and successes) to learn from it. It is a wake-up call for all of us. The preparedness and response at all levels – individual, local, national and international – is what we must give thought to and chart out the future strategy out of the experience gained from these hard times. For the governments, it is a reminder of the failure of their priorities – investing in and getting in rat race of procuring more and more arms while blatantly ignoring the healthcare and the research about the infectious diseases. Even the developed countries are struggling to overcome the situation and regain or say restart their fallen economies. This brings home the point that the investment in healthcare and medical researches is vital as that could give us a future head start in fight against the outbreak of such pathogens.
India, despite having made much advance in the field of information technology and medicine, has a long way to go, and play a big role in this regard. We have several world class institutes which need to be given impetus through significant investment so that their capabilities to undertake research into the diseases like coronavirus are strengthened. We have to utilize our IT prowess to provide much needed assistance to medical research institutes in whatever way possible.
The way India responded to the outbreak despite having a population of over a billion is still a feat well achieved. The strictness with which the government imposed nationwide lockdown is appreciable and was even acknowledged by the World Health Organization; however other measures have to be put in place as the lockdown alone cannot wane off the pandemic. There are still a number of lessons we can draw from the present situation; and the most important among them is the focus and investment in healthcare and medical research especially into the novel diseases. It would be not only unwise but also suicidal on part of the government to ignore or show a sleepwalking attitude towards this sector which, at any cost, needs to be prioritized. That would make us realize the dream of Healthy India.