Dr Asangba Tzüdir
On Thursday last, the Central Government released Rs. 890.32 crore as the second installment of the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System preparedness package to 22 States and Union Territories. As reported in this newspaper, “the financial assistance is based on the COVID-19 caseload in these regions.” The caseload would definitely serve as the defining parameter in the distribution of the financial assistance. However, this parameter can also mean that in case of an inflated caseload than the actual, the financial assistance would be undoubtedly more.
In another stray case, Noble Peace laureate Dr Denis Mukwege resigned as head of a local task force fighting COVID-19 in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in frustration at the government’s response to the crisis adding that “a lack of coordinated action had crippled his work.” Only someone who is upright would fight it out straight or resign especially in instances where the battle against COVID-19 pandemic calls for collective responsibility and better resources management. Otherwise, it becomes a difficult proposition in a situation where there is hand in glove greasing.
On the other side, the current pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of greater accountability and transparency. This has been one serious concern that has plagued the fight against COVID-19. Unless issues of accountability and transparency are not addressed, the call for a collective responsibility would not work, especially when there is a trust deficit.
The Novel coronavirus has claimed a lot of lives across the globe and has spiraled fear and confusion among the masses, however, it has provided a lot of opportunities for positive changes. It has no doubt brought the community together irrespective of the differences with a realization that the fight against Corona is a common battle. To build on this realization and collectivity on one hand calls for accountability and transparency from the other, towards building a better and stronger support system.
It has also provided an opportunity for the development of healthcare infrastructure, and the time is now to work towards an all-inclusive development and ensure that no one is deprived of quality healthcare delivery.
Further, it has provided a fresh opportunity to build up the local economy and also enhance skill development. These are areas where the government needs to give more attention through ways that would encourage local business and entrepreneurship. Besides resources generation and catering to the needs of the situation, a lot of innovations have been observed from different quarters starting from hands-free sanitizers to drone aided transportation of medical aid. This in itself is a testament that human resources and skills need to be channeled in the right areas for greater impact so also for economic returns.
But the biggest opportunity of all for our state that is tangled and mangled in the debris of ‘dependency syndrome’ is that, irrespective of the profession, this pandemic has attested to the fact that we need to think smart and work a lot harder. Boosted by these mantras, the COVID-19 pandemic has only opened up various avenues for becoming self-reliant towards building a robust economy.
Finally on the aspect of human relationship, from internationalization and globalization, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to shift towards localism, a space to rebuild and reignite the roots of building relationships among family members and neighbors.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to the Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com)