|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Ahead of print publication
Chasing the Virus: not only difficult but impossible. Are We going to hit a dead end? – managing epidemics
Technical Adviser, The Maharashtra State Anti TB Association, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Submission||16-Aug-2020|
|Date of Decision||26-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||27-Oct-2020|
2B Saurabh, 24E Sarojini Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai - 400 054, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this URL:|
Dholakia Y. Chasing the Virus: not only difficult but impossible. Are We going to hit a dead end? – managing epidemics. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Sep 20]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=310601
Banerjee, in his editorial, has written about the COVID-19 pandemic and the current strategies to contain the same. The adverse consequences of this full-blown pandemic cannot be ignored. Banerjee has very aptly detailed the way forward to tackle this pandemic. However, this pandemic has raised significant public health issues with respect to infectious diseases, in general. A new normal is in evolution. We need to look at the challenges and opportunities in managing the epidemics – old and recent – and to prepare for new emerging ones.
Challenges in managing infectious diseases, both those existing and new emerging ones, especially of the magnitude of pandemics, overwhelm the public health. Some of the epidemics that deserve mention are tuberculosis,, HIV/AIDS,, and malaria, which till today are of major concern. HIV/AIDS, the newer infectious disease, despite having no curative or preventive intervention other than behavioral change and lifelong antiretroviral treatment, has been managed well. Leprosy, although officially eliminated, too has witnessed this over time.,
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that, despite technological and pharmaceutical advances, our public health systems are not yet strong enough to bear the burden. Our responses to infectious diseases are a cycle of panic–neglect–panic–neglect., There are no sustained and focused efforts to maintain the gains made in controlling the disease or improving the public health interventions. Adequate funding for the interventions and ongoing research is needed to keep existing diseases under check and prevent new emerging diseases.
To have a robust pandemic response which is better coordinated in future health crises, it will be necessary to focus on areas of surveillance, prevention, and intervention. There is a need to improve the coordination and interconnection between various stakeholders, such as healthcare providers and public health systems. Such a system can only be possible if we create a cadre under a proposed Indian Medical Services (IMS), which has many proponents across the medical fraternity. The mandate that IMS can pursue could include developing surveillance systems for various diseases to study transmission of pathogens; to aid research, development, and support in areas of prevention; to train local health personnel; to encourage community awareness to risks of propagation of diseases; and to sensitize and train policymakers, politicians, and healthcare providers for better preparedness to handle such pandemics. This, however, will also involve strong political will, enhanced funding, and strengthening the health sector at grass roots.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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