|Covid-19, by it's high transmission tendency and no vaccine yet available for it's cure, has created such a kind of catastrophe in the whole world that besides World Health Organisation (WHO), more than one hundred fifty countries in the world in one way or the other have prioritised the immediate need to combat it.|
As the experts say, still no medicinal treatment by any specific vaccine is available yet to cure the positive cases of Covid-19 and accordingly the only option remains to stop it's accelerating rate of transmission by social distancing. But does this mean that by opting for the complete "lockdown" there is no need to roll out the much essential health sector, no. The fact is that the continuous increase in the pandemic Covid-19 is day by day overburdening the load on the shoulders of health authorities. The elderly positive Covid-19 patients with other ailments need to be taken care of, which is possible with the good quality health sector and the role of medicos. Besides taking care of such kind of elderly patients, medicoshave and are working with utmost efforts to stop it's transmission by one way or the other while putting their own lives to high risk. They are as if the warriors in the battle field with out the weapons, and are still playing a heroic part.
No doubt they can't treat this disease by any medicine but their contribution, which we are witnessing at present in the way they make every facility available like testing, facilitating quarantine, advising the people, giving health education, their knowledge about the ways of transmission of disease, is all need of the hour.
When some of the world's developed countries like China, Italy, France, Spain, and United States, besides getting their economies affected have faced a huge damage after losing human lives in big numbers due the deadly disease of Covid-19, the two south Asian neighbours India and Pakistan, who were mostly seen sharing heated statements and always used to lock horns against each other to suppress one another's tall claims of military power, have subsequently expressed their inefficiencies to be fully equipped to deal with this catastrophe, which is brought by a tinny biological entity called coronavirus. Both seem helpless to fight against it, with the much needed necessary facilities in terms of infrastructure like sufficient no of good hospitals, number of specious and separate wards in hospitals for quarantine, sufficient ventilators required during such kind of catastrophe, needed number of testing labs, safety gears for medical staff, sufficient medical staff in all hospitals and all _which they ironically don't even have with regard to the low standard of their respective health sectors.
Both the countries have been putting their efforts to empower defence sector of their countries with lesser focus on health. Like Pakistan, India too has made defence it's priority in terms of its yearly budgets instead of health sector over past many years. It is very evident from this year's budget. India, as it's defence budget for 2020-2021 has earmarked Rs. 4,71,378 crore for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), stated that national security is a top priority of the government. Where as the total allocation of Rs 69,000 crore only was earmarked for the health sector in Union Budget 2020-21 which was just about 10 per cent higher from the last year.
This gap of focus between the most important and necessary sector which is health and defence, has led both the countries to the juncture where they are now paying for it, at time when the crisis are more but options to deal with them are least.
With the result, If on one hand Pakistan is worried about more than one fourth of its population which is living below the poverty line during these toughest times of lockdowns, India is worried about it's underdeveloped infrastructure of hospitals as compared to the developed countries of world.
Both the countries have finally acknowledged their deficiencies before the the people of their respective countries to deal with such a dangerous pandemic. So both the Prime Ministers of their respective countries at the eleventh hour have realised that the only thing they can do is to call for complete "lockdown" in their countries in order to break the chain of transmission of Covid-19. Though it is the best option but it can work only if other associated options go with hand in hand like better testing facility, quarantine facilities, availability of sophisticated medical equipments and all that.
Amidst the crisis , If on one hand Pakistan is worried about more than one fourth of its below poverty line population during these toughest times of lockdowns, India is worried about it's underdeveloped infrastructure of hospitals as compared to the developed countries of world.
So both the PMs of their respective countries realised that the only thing they can do is to appeal people to stay indoors, and leave rest on the mercy of Allah (SWT).
However WHO termed lockdowns for retaining Covid-19 a second window opportunity, and asked the countries who want to deal this situation with lockdown the only option, to come up with other necessary measures to combat it.
In an address on Covid-19 Director General WHO said, "Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics.The point of these actions is to enable the more precise and targeted measures that are needed to stop transmission and save lives. We call on all countries who have introduced so-called "lockdown" measures to use this time to attack the virus. You have created a second window of opportunity. The question is, how will you use it?
He further said, " There are six key actions that we recommend.
First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce;
Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level;
Third, ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing; Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients; Fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts"
"These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn't resurge", he added.
Hence India and Pakistan should take the message of WHO as a wake up call to prioritise health sector, instead of spending huge on nuclear weapons, sparing less to uplift poverty and ensuring better health service.