When the weather forecast announces a snowfall, or a prolonged wet period, it generates a kind of anxiety in Kashmir.
We know it, as if by instinct, that this turn in the weather brings multiple problems to us. But this time there is need to get serious about certain aspects of the present situation.
In case of temperatures dipping below zero, or in case of a snowfall, we always witness an uptick in the number of patients. One, there are certain diseases that worsen because of extreme cold.
Two, there is a certain age group that is more vulnerable and their health condition also worsens during these days. Third, during a snowfall there is more likelihood of accidents.
We see many people who face accidents during this season. All this means that the patient-rush to hospitals can increase. Since there is a parallel phenomenon that is rearing its head, the uptick in Omicron infected cases. This is a disturbing scenario.
If there is a significant increase in the number of covid patients, we will be facing a tough time.
If our hospitals get sucked into another crisis, a situation like we witnessed in the beginning of this pandemic, how can we manage the patients who will be coming to hospitals because of their health problems worsening in this season.
The easiest, and the cost effective way, to deal with the situation is to sensitise people on matters related to this turn in weather. If people take extra caution, and ensure that their health condition remains good all this while, and no need to visit hospitals arises, our hospitals can focus on the expected Omicron spread.
To this end, the departments like community medicine need to aggressively work for spreading information on these problems, and involve various community actors to disseminate that information.
The health department can also undertake a public relations exercise where a kind of mass sensitisation campaign can be rolled out through various means of mass media.
Before a crisis rears its head, we need to chalk out a proactive policy that can disallow the expected challenges to overtake our systems.