New Delhi: As the Capital regains some bit of normalcy after battling with the second wave of Covid-19 which hit the country hard, it now seems to be preparing ahead of the third wave, if the necessity arises.
The biggest issue faced in the past few months was ensuring good coordination and management between state, civic and central agencies. The United Residents' Joint Action (URJA) wrote to Delhi's Lt. Governor and Chairman of Delhi Disaster Management Agency to develop a unified state-level war room.
In the letter, URJA wrote, "Developing a war room (single window) to operate round the clock, which will coordinate with all agencies and functions to resolve the grievance at state with decentralised district/zone/ward levels under a unified responsible command, which is answerable and accountable, is the need of the hour to deal with the likely third wave anytime later this year."
They further added, "However, it is felt that the ease of business to operate under pandemic guidelines is still missing from the government agenda. The same is being suggested to be considered for the smooth functioning of the city under pandemic by the government. State government announces extension of the lockdown week after week and still, it is uncertain of its future repetition. Lockdown means the responsibility of the Police increases to manage, impose rules, monitor and punish the violators."
URJA also recommended several steps to be followed for the above problems and smooth functioning of the city under pandemic by the government. They suggested:
Decentralise the operations: Declaration of decentralised containment zones/ isolation centres/hospital facilities under strict watch and monitoring by local area teams/an the independent agency under coordinated support from the government agencies, private suppliers of medicine, medical equipment, oxygen etc.
Local area plans: District Magistrates of all districts to coordinate with RWAs/NGOs/religious bodies/commercial establishments and organization’s/elected representatives-MP/MLA/MC
Vaccination & testing: An increase in the volume of the services is much-needed side by side with a planned structure.
Guidelines for the operation of commercial establishments, markets, factories, local shopping centres and institutions etc. with reduced, scattered time and staff on a daily basis to enable the economy to get going.
The detailing of the above points was also listed in the letter. The letter explained the need to plan and arrange the state/district/zone/ward resources accordingly and respectively. They are:
- Increase the number of Covid-19 isolation beds depending on the population recorded or anticipated by expert’s analytic reports from the second wave to third-wave surge.
- Increase the capacity of the number of beds for treatment with oxygen and ventilators in ICU
- It is well understood that a majority of infected persons will remain isolated at home only and to support their needs a separate decentralised mechanism under the war room may be equipped with oxy-meter, concentrators, cylinders, medicine etc.
- Work towards sustainability of medical and para medical services, equipment and support, medicine and vaccines in each ward/zone/district/state.
- Similarly, the cremation grounds, burial grounds, hearse vans, ambulances etc. also need to be equipped to deal with the additional load likely to be generated.
- Set up unified war rooms at the state level and district levels with a dedicated team and resources in the public domain to deal with the expected third wave.
- Disposal of used PP kits, gloves, masks, face shields, hHousehold garbage of infected persons must be ensured and monitored by local area teams.
Apart from this they also mentioned several challenges, strengths and recommendations, which are listed below:
- To coordinate with RWAs, civil society under a responsible unified command.
- The internal support staff and officials respond timely and effectively.
- Dissemination of information interdepartmental and public domain.
- Develop a process to monitor the internal and external functioning under command of operations by the government. & non-government agencies under command of DM.
- To create enough resources, back up plans and reserves.
- Maintain the quality of dissemination of information, collection of data and storage.
- Categorise the population based on the economic strength.
- Maintain availability of goods, medicines, equipment’s, disposables and other linked services like ambulances, hearse vans, crematoriums strength etc. at nominal prices.
- Plan in advance to use the material, equipment, etc. purchased during making the engagements to deal with the pandemic later, meaningfully and usefully at appropriate places.
- Available government buildings, structures, community halls, schools & colleges
- Booth level data to work under planned vaccination drives
- Municipal dispensaries, mohalla clinics, DGHS & CGHS dispensaries, government and private hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, Asha workers, civil volunteers, RWAs & civil societies, faith and community leaders
- The existing system of health care (Center and State) needs to be strengthened with infrastructural support, deployment of adequate technical and other staff with release of personnel funds sanctioned annually on time to be sustainable.
- Limited use of contractual employment to maintain continuity of care and services.
- Disaster management protocol for managing pandemic/endemics at central/state/district/zone/ward levels with decentralisation of decision making, central authority for guidelines, monitoring and help in case of disaster.
- Health care facilities to be marked for the care of people not affected by pandemic, otherwise another disaster in the making for other chronic ailments like DM, CAD, cancer and an emergency required to be taken care of.
- Prevention to be promoted over tertiary therapeutic care with the provision of adequate financial resources chargeable as all services can’t be allowed to be free.