TODAY -

Truth and knowledge as weapons against the pandemic
- Imphal Times Editorial :: August 22 2020 -



With politics- or more precisely the ugly side of cut-throat politics being played out at present in the state and occupying the collective energy, efforts and mindset of the elected representatives of the people of the state, it is no surprise that an increasing section of the medical fraternity, both as individuals and as groups, have started expressing concerns regarding the handling of the pandemic situation in the state by the state administration.

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic had its footfall in the state, there have been apprehensions and unfounded fears about the means of transmissions and social stigmatization of covid-19 positive patients to the point that a young girl who recovered from the infection committed suicide due to the callous and inhumane attitude towards her by her family and the society.

Almost five months on, there is little to show for all the efforts and works the state administration have declared to have performed to dispel the apprehensions and unfounded fears still gripping the minds of a large number of the public.

Imposing lockdowns and curfews are very well and are welcome, but these are restrictive measures which have negative connotations in the minds of the public even though these are for the benefit and safety of everyone, and there has been precious little by way of actually taking up concrete steps to dispel such fears and anxieties from the public mindset.

One can experience such unfortunate incidents of localities barricading themselves from ‘outsiders’ with banners and signs preventing ‘outsiders’ from entering the localities.

The state administration as well as the state security agency have evidently turned mute spectators to such increasing acts of ‘self-segregations’ thereby posing a great risk of letting this pandemic getting out of hand.

The issue is gaining greater significance with the number of transmissions from persons with no travel history increasing alarmingly in the state.

Various experts are now of the opinion that the number of infections in the state would turn out to be much higher than the official figure if testing is increased to include random candidates from different localities in the state.

As a matter of fact, 8 doctors and healthcare workers have reportedly urged the state government and health authority to launch a total community survey to ascertain the present situation so that a more effective means of fighting the epidemic can be formulates as they are of the opinion that the state have entered the early stages of community transmission almost a month back.

It would be unfortunate and may even prove catastrophic not only for the state but the whole region to sit on the concerns and opinions expressed by these people who are at the forefront of the war against the pandemic.

Forewarned is forearmed, and at the same time, along with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) announced from time to time, announcements regarding do’s and don’ts regarding the public perceptions and concerns such as announcements and procedures for social conducts within containment zones, disposal of covid-19 related deaths, local assistance facilities and formalities to contact first responders etcetera should also be disseminated through all forms of media.

Removing doubts and anxieties from the minds of the public in these uncertain times is as important as combating the real infection.

While the rate of infection and fatality is reported to be on the decline, yet the sense of foreboding and uneasiness still lingers strong in the society. Stigmatization, self-denial, sense of guilt and depressions are unfortunate realities we need to accept and fight, and for that knowledge and confidence will prove to be the most effective weapons.



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