Covid-19 has brought many changes to our lives, some of them being quite major. It has also made us aware of certain things and brought about a difference in our perception.
Imagine the life before this pandemic, and compare that to the life people are leading now. You will notice that it has changed multi fold, and major streams have started or have already adapted to a new way of work.
But, along with all these changes, this pandemic has also exposed some nasty pictures of humankind to us. The bitter truths have come out, and it is not a positive picture at all. One of these is the exposure of the Indian Healthcare infrastructure.
The Indian healthcare industry has been serving millions of people for years. Everything has its flaws, but something as significant as healthcare cannot afford to contain flaws. Especially the ones we are going to talk about here.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in our system and showcased our under investment in our overall public health infrastructure. We need to develop a cohesive strategy to address the issues we are facing,” said Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and Chairman CII Public Health Council.
Listening to such statements from the country’s top doctors makes us ponder upon the healthcare infrastructure work done by the governments over all these years.
When the pandemic hit us, the first flaw noticed in the system was the shortage of protective materials such as PPE kits, masks, and sanitizers. Along with this, there was a shortage of the most important thing ever: Oxygen.
The health management also failed in making amends to this situation immediately. The physical infrastructure also failed humankind, thus proving that India does not have adequate pandemic response infrastructure built for the people.
The Government has to invest more in this sector and induce an encompassing healthcare infrastructure for the public. There is a dire need for more hospitals, along with proper patient education and awareness.
Covid-19 patients are also a different kind. So while all hospitals are making separate wards for their corona patients, isn’t it better to create independent hospitals? This brings us to the next plan, where there should be enough hospitals to treat patients affected by the pandemic. But the ground reality is that there is an acute shortage of these hospitals.
We have seen how the pandemic brought us all to our knees and crushed all our hopes, dreams and, along with it, took away some of our loved ones. But, we forget that there are hundreds of front line workers who have lost their families as well. The doctors, healthcare workers, the nurses, the staff, everyone has been affected. Some have been victims of the virus themselves, while others have experienced the death of near and dear ones.
The Indian healthcare infrastructure is a multi-tiered system, primarily with Indian healthcare workers at the bottom and top medical colleges at the top rung of the ladder. Hence, if the lowest part of the pyramid gives way, the whole structure will come tumbling down.
The Indian healthcare infrastructure was one of the worst-hit sectors. Some authorities believe that the infrastructure was alright until the pandemic struck. Covid-19 suddenly made many victims critical, thus rendering the essential pieces of healthcare equipment short in number. This pushed the hospitals to make the long-overdue upgrades and induce new changes.
India has made many changes since the last year and continues to make progress as we speak. Authorities are trying to increase the bed count per 1000 patients so that no victim will have to suffer because of fewer beds.
The Indian healthcare infrastructure is also employing AI in monitoring patients, which helped the healthcare workers significantly. It is also working as a permanent solution for the staff shortage.
Next comes a very crucial machine utilized in Covid-19 treatment: the ventilators. Unfortunately, the pandemic saw exponential growth in ventilators that induced a severe shortage throughout the country.
While there were not enough ventilators to equip patients during the 1st wave, the scenario has improved right now. More ventilators are getting installed in all hospitals. Even district healthcare departments install 2-3 fold ventilation infrastructure while private sectors have gone up to 6-7 fold ventilation infrastructure.
The problem of testing is also getting solved eventually. Testing has been made compulsory only for symptomatic patients, reducing the burden on the testing infrastructure. The government has also announced that isolation is the best way to curb the spread of Covid-19 in this country. The peak can be brought down if any of the patients showcasing valid symptoms are quarantined immediately. This is a conclusion from an ICMR study.
The lockdown rules are to be followed like the Bible’s commandments, which is the best way to bring the country out of the pandemic. But in this dire situation, one should also be aware of the impact of Covid 19 on mental health and how to overcome it. Indian healthcare infrastructure might be failing us now, but a little effort from our side can help bend the spread of the deadly virus.
Lastly, the lack of money for proper installation and up-gradation of the Indian healthcare system is also being taken care of. The government is doing its best by investing heavily in the healthcare infrastructures of the areas worst hit by the pandemic.
India has successfully overcome various struggles throughout its history, and this pandemic is just another hiccup. It has made people helpless, and the least we can do right now is stand beside each other, remind everyone to follow the safety protocol, and stay inside our homes. India might have a vast labor force, but they, too, are reeling from the losses. So, it’s only natural that the healthcare infrastructure will take a hit. But, we also know that with a little more patience and effort, there will be more beds, more vaccines, more medicines, and fewer patients. Better days are right around the corner.