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What urban India can do to offset the risks of Covid-19 | Opinion – analysis


India is home to some of the most densely populated cities in the world, where people are forced to live in tight spaces and travel on crowded subways and buses every day. With new cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) on the rise, which has so far affected more than 150 countries, it is important to understand the urban dimensions of pandemic planning and to ensure preventive and curative measures for mitigation. With robust city management, India could become a forerunner in the fight against the disease.

In today’s world, the growth of medical science and digital infrastructure can be harnessed to successfully combat the spread of Covid-19. More than half of the world population lives in urban areas. And national economies are strongly intertwined, thanks to globalization.

Municipal governments play a crucial role in developing efficient and innovative methods to tackle emerging infectious diseases, from ensuring the effectiveness of physical and social infrastructure (water and sanitation, and hospitals and health care systems) to safeguarding the ecosystem to through more connected digital and digital networks. Economic infrastructure.

This is what needs to be done.

One, the water and sanitation authorities must guarantee hygienic systems in the city. Environmental hygiene is an absolute necessity to effectively combat the spread of the virus. All public and community toilets should be disinfected at regular intervals and equipped with handwashing facilities and handkerchiefs. Public spaces such as parks, markets, and institutions must have safe waste management and disposal systems that operate 24 hours. Initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) have already prepared many cities to manage this effectively.

Two, the district infrastructure needs to be regularly strengthened and monitored by the district administration. Kerala is at the forefront of monitoring and successfully fighting coronavirus cases. You are making effective use of your digital health infrastructure to isolate and diagnose positive cases. As part of an intensive campaign, the Pathanamthitta district administration has created a system, with a GPS-compatible system to track those quarantined in the district to restrict street movement. A report from NITI Aayog, Health system for a new India (2019), He also argues that digital initiatives are crucial to effectively manage health facilities in a clinical, administrative and financial way.

Three, data can play an important role in improving readiness, slowing down incidents, and containing the spread of identified cases. Local authorities should regularly monitor the spatial and temporal distribution of affected cases and the geographical proximity to the affected regions. These data can then be analyzed to develop a complete and robust response system. Since there is a smart infrastructure in 100 smart cities in India, data collection and management can be explored and expanded regionally.

Four non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) help contain communicable diseases. NPIs, such as working from home, closing schools, and restricting public meetings, which eliminate high-risk possibilities for mass infection and reinforce social estrangement, prevent the spread of the disease. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of overloading the healthcare system and saves precious resources.

Five, strong lines of communication with the community can be very helpful in being the first line of defense. Certain NPI actions can attract public attention and can have negative psychosocial and economic consequences, especially for vulnerable and high-risk populations. Public messages must address fear, stigmatization, and discrimination. The Union’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released a comic Children, Vaayu and Corona: Who wins the fight? to raise awareness among children about the coronavirus. The use of such early warning systems creates a cautious and informed citizenship line.

Six, rationing of the health care system and temporary expansion of facilities may be necessary in critical care beds. Respiratory diseases such as Covid-19 require specialized hospital treatment for a considerable proportion of those who become symptomatic, in the form of ventilation and the need for antibiotics to combat secondary infections. Quarantine centers and temporary hospitals with isolation facilities will be required to treat established cases of Covid-19 infections.

Seven, it is necessary to maintain and regulate the supply of essential drugs and precautions, such as masks, medical textiles, hand washes, and alcohol-based disinfectants. On March 13, the Union government declared hand and mask disinfectants as “essential products” under the Commodities Act until June 30. It was important to do this to avoid a mismatch between demand and supply, rent seeking, hoarding, and exorbitant prices.

And, eight, the urban economy is likely to be affected, and this cannot be ignored as cities contribute significantly to GDP. District authorities can play an important role in minimizing the local economic impact. People in precarious jobs deserve specific attention. Precautionary measures will definitely help keep the economic engine running, and early response can reduce the long-term impact.

A well-managed and planned urban system can reduce the risks of pandemics and endemics. India’s urban system will have to champion change for more organized and formal development.

Although there is little or no population immunity to the virus, with proactive planning and implementation, the impact of this pandemic can be effectively mitigated to effectively prevent the worst case scenario.

Amitabh Kant is CEO, NITI Aayog, and Richa Rashmi is Young Professional, NITI Aayog

The opinions expressed are personal.

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