The Lancet medical journal has observed, in its June 12 issue, that a fresh Covid-19 crisis is unfolding in India’s rural parts and listed eight “urgent actions" that must be taken.
The comment in ‘The Lancet’ journal was authored by as many as 21 authors, including Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
Here are the eight recommendations:
-The organisation of essential health services must be decentralised. A one-size-fits-all approach is untenable since the numbers of Covid-19 cases and health services differ substantially from district to district.
-There must be a transparent national pricing policy and caps on the prices of all essential health services— for example, ambulances, oxygen, essential medicines, and hospital care. Hospital care should not require any out-of-pocket expenditure and costs should be covered by existing health Centre
-Clear, evidence-based information on the management of Covid-19 must be more widely disseminated and implemented. This information should include suitably adapted international guidelines for home care and treatment, primary care, and care in local languages that incorporate local circumstances and clinical practice.
-All available human resources across all sectors of the health system, including the private sector, must be marshalled for the Covid-19 response and adequately resourced, particularly with sufficient personal protective equipment, guidance on the use of clinical interventions, insurance, and mental health support.
-Central systems to procure and distribute Covid-19 vaccines free of cost should be established in a departure from the current policy of decentralised procurement through state governments.
-Community engagement and public participation must lie at the heart of India’s Covid-19 response. We recommend active collaboration between government and civil society organisations to create and disseminate accurate information, enabling home-based care, emphasising prevention, helping navigate access to live-saving treatment, and promoting vaccination.
- There must be transparency in government data collection and modelling to enable districts to proactively prepare for the likely caseloads in the coming weeks.
- The profound suffering and risk to health caused by loss of livelihoods should be minimised by making provisions for cash transfers by the state to workers in India’s vast informal economy who have lost their jobs, as is being done by some state governments