As the covid cases show a disturbing spike in Kashmir, the administration is trying to upgrade its plans, and make extensive arrangements to meet the challenge. A detailed briefing by the administration about how new Covid Care Centres will be set up, and how different officials will be tasked to ensure that things are put in place as required, is indicative of a long drawn battle. With limited resources, on the one hand, and rising cases on the other, it is really getting difficult for the administration too. As of now there is a lockdown in place and it is expected to arrest the spread of the infection. But when it is lifted what would be the scenario? This question must be factored in when we lay out plans to fight this pandemic. The big picture that comes up in front of us, after all these months, is to be understood down to the last pixel. Since it is going to be a long haul the plans must take that into account. To this end the administration, besides contingent plans, must think in terms of worst case scenarios. That can help in advance preparation in case things worsen further. The administration also needs to seriously involve the frontline doctors, those who receive patients in different hospitals, conduct tests on them, and treat them.
These doctors can be a valuable input on how the problem can be effectively dealt with. This bottom up approach is very crucial in all disaster management exercises. These doctors have a first hand experience of how the covid patients behave, and how sometime their families add to the problems of the hospital management. They can actually tell us what is required, in terms of medicine, testing equipment, safety gear, hospital atmosphere, and sensitisation of the covid patients and their families. Finally it’s a healthcare problem that has consequences for the administration also. If the frontline doctors, those who work on ground, are given more chance to be part of decision making, and plan drafting, we can expect a better response to meet this challenge. The administration also should heed the suggestion, as put forth by some doctors, that we need to have covid dedicated centers that can ensure specialized treatment. This can also unburden our main hospitals that are right now busy in treating covid patients. After all, if it’s a long haul, we need to free these hospitals for routine patients. Otherwise, if we are saving lives by treating covid infected patients, we are jeopardising the lives of the people with other ailments.