Editorial

Health for all

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/18/2020 1:09:08 PM IST

 Even several decades after independence, most states in the north east region still lack adequate human resources and quality health care service delivery. In the current COVID-19 pandemic, what has been witnessed, is the pitiable state of health care infrastructure in most north eastern states. This has been reflected in NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2019-2020, where none of the eight Northeastern states find a position in the top 10 states in India as per the SDG 3 rankings. It is also a matter of deep concern, that among the north eastern states, Nagaland secures the lowest rank, with an abysmally low score of 29 out of 100. Unfortunately, the state has attempted to uplift its almost non-existent health care infrastructure. It may be pertinent to point out that as per the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3)- Good Health and Well-being- acts as the topmost priority that supersedes all the other developmental objectives ; after all, health is wealth but not vice versa. The virus began to show up late in the region but matters turned worse after several thousand stranded people of various states in the region, began to return and also brought the virus along. The health care infrastructures of the states were hopelessly inadequate and unprepared to meet the sudden onslaught. In the current pandemic, most states have been able to successfully combine their traditional ways of life with the lifestyle required to keep the virus away and in this way, have been able to keep the situation under control because of firm support from civil society. Sikkim has set a fine example of how involvement of society and government together can make the difference. Despite being in close proximity to West Bengal and Assam which are the worst COVID-19 affected states in the eastern region- the proactive measures taken by the state has been highly commendable. In Arunachal Pradesh, village headmen and church leaders and youth worked in tandem to enforce lockdown. In Mizoram youths were proactive in helping the health authorities by patrolling the international border, construction of quarantine centres and maintaining them. Even in Nagaland NGOs and churches also got involved in providing support to frontline warriors as well as maintaining quarantine centres. In Manipur civil society organisations have helped law enforcement agencies in maintaining law and order and ensuring that things did not go out of control. However, that is how much the CSOs or NGOs can do and the major part of taking care of the virus, still remains in the domain of health care system. One aspect of the pandemic is that it served to open the eyes of state planners on the Achilles heel of the states and which is the poor health care system. An important experience from the COVID-19 pandemic, is that in future, pre-emptive preparedness for epidemic and infection was imperative for optimum healthcare. For quite some time, the north east was merely seen as a tourist and organic hub. However, the pandemic has ruined that vision. Considering this, the DoNER ministry has given the NE states the option to send proposals for health-related projects to be funded from Rs.500 crore under North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme(NEISDS). What is therefore, needed, is reviewing to reshape and re-strengthen the health care system in the states which remains the backbone of society.

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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