Still not too late

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/2/2020 1:33:44 PM IST

 Like the handling of COVID-19 at the national level, Nagaland’s Covid-19 response is being led by the bureaucrats behind the backs of politicians. The state’s strategy on COVID-19 was highlighted by a series of missteps that exposed that the level of claimed preparedness was premature. Even the delay in announcing the national lockdown on international travel and the timing of the announcement, have not contributed to the success that is being claimed. Much of India’s bureaucracy is steeped in ‘legalistic’ norms that only promote a bureaucratic culture of strict adherence to rules, hierarchies and procedures, often at the cost of local needs. This has also led to a large number of bureaucratic orders spelling rules and guidelines on a daily basis which had created chaos among many stakeholders, including businesses and the general public. The tragedy of that the coronavirus pandemic is that it has thrown the entire system almost haywire and the biggest loss is that the ‘think tank’ excluded renowned scientists of the country who could have given a better understanding in deciphering the measures against the menacing virus. Even in Nagaland, initially much focus was on dealing or apportioning of resources and procurements. A case in point of what has gone wrong at crucial period of the pandemic was the handling of the strategy by the government especially the health & family welfare department. Highly questionable decisions or lack of transparency in the entire ‘preparedness’ involving ‘lightning’ or ‘emergency’ purchases had been highlighted in press statements issued by RTI applications. The department failed to satisfy or meet the demands. This has led to filing of two separate PILs with the GHC. The confusion comes when politicians have less inclination to the nitty gritty of planning especially understanding the complexity of the dangerous virus of which still much remains to be known. When clear answers are needed, authorities appear as unclear or unwilling to enlighten. Media needs more information to work with so as to provide information but instead, what is given are just figures and less of facts. At times, even the figures given don’t add up and suggest perhaps that somebody needs to do more homework before going public. That the state government has had at least three state-level committees with the latest being the High Powered Committee(HPC) speaks volumes about the disconnect with ground reality. Anyway, the best that has been done by the HPC was to allow the district task force of every district to decide on how to deal with the COVID crisis based on the local conditions and situations. The other issue that has been commented on occasions in this column, pertained to forming a scientific panel that includes eminent immunologist, virologists and epidemiologists to provide better clarity about the virus about which still much is yet to be known. The other aspect is that for a place like Dimapur having the highest number of COVID cases and potentially, ever increasing number, it would be helpful if all private health institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and practitioners get together to form a core group to collectively plan and strategise on tackling the COVID-19 crisis.At the end of the day, it is everybody’s fight and what better than medical professionals who are in touch with the ground reality?

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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