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To act effectively in a democracy, the Government must communicate with its people. Because people of the country have right to know what government and public sector bodies are up to and why administrative decisions are made.
Mr. Saikat Mitra
Founder, Earthen Living LLP

This is an expensive learning. Learning at the cost of millions of near and dear ones. Till Corona Virus Pandemic the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was the most severe pandemic in the history; but the Corona Virus has shattered us the most. That Spanish flu was restricted to some parts of North and South America and Europe; however Corona Virus has spread all the continents. Now it is time to see what we have learned from this corona virus outbreak. I’ll try to keep my focus on some of the key topics that I believe we should take seriously here after.

a) Communication
Communication failures in a pandemic can be catastrophic. Most of us had never experienced anything like that until Novel Corona Virus brought public health emergency across the globe. The first human cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel Corona Virus causing COVID-19, subsequently named SARS-CoV-2 was first reported by officials in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were confirmed in large number of countries due to which the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 announced COVID-19 as a global pandemic. COVID-19 exposed people to psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, fear, stigma therefore it is of utmost importance the effective communication should be ensured at workplaces, families and communities. The health systems aggressively stepped up the response measures like find, isolate, test, treat and trace transmission to save people’s lives from COVID-19.

In this situation, media and social conversations are primarily dominated by the large amounts of information about COVID-19. Responding to COVID-19 requires critical preparedness and response which includes effective communication as an essential strategy. Every country has started using their possible way to communicate with the people to provide possible and required information to control the psychological distress using cutting edge technology to build app and websites to circulate information, guidelines and policies. Besides all effort made to my personal view is that there is a huge room for improvement in effective communication here in India. The point here that I would like to make is that not just for this PANDEMIC but in general we should consider this as an expensive and tough lesson and try to build an effective public communication channel to ensure people are empowered with right information at the right time for right action.

To act effectively in a democracy, the Government must communicate with its people. Because people of the country have right to know what government and public sector bodies are up to and why administrative decisions are made. The information provided by the government must be creditable and timely. Public administration reform or change requires a parallel reform or change of the role of citizen responsibility. During this pandemic we have learnt many public leaders have came out and apprising of changing roles. There is a need in all levels of society for a fundamental understanding of following…

– specific roles of various public administrative bodies
– limits of those roles
– available public event of non-performing public sector bodies and individual

Above all every effort must be made to build confidence between the public administration, the citizenry at large and media. India is a vast country with so many culture and languages. It is a challenge for all of us to build an effective communication. However, Individual citizens need to understand services provided by the administrations or guidelines to follow certain act in public for the greater good at large. This will demystify the public sector while building up external respect and support for the continuing process of economic and political transformation.

 

b) Right Infection Control
Environmental factors influence the spread of communicable diseases. Water, sanitation, food and air quality are vital elements on the transmission of communicable diseases. We are the only species in the universe who do not even think twice before polluting the environment. We are the only living entity who buys essentials like water as commodity. The general people are becoming increasingly aware of conflicts between environment and industry. For industry bottom line is profit. In 1998 the chairman of The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, Mark Moody-Stuart, stated, “We believe that without principles, no company deserves profit. Without profits, no company can sustain principles.” Alasdair Blair and David Hitchcock, authors of Environment and Business (2001), respond to this statement by noting the following about the remarks of the Shell chairman: He acknowledges the fact that profits without principles are immoral.

The other side of the infection control system starts with the readiness of health care system. In order to build have the right infection control; it starts with health care settings. Here in India we see the economical condition defines what type of health care facility you can avail. A very small number of people can avail best of the health care facility, where as majority of the people have to visit government hospitals and private nursing homes. While I was writing I wanted to be optimist but my eyes had witnessed some of the Indian Government Hospitals in different parts of India. I’m not an expert but telling this from my life experience, that empowering Nurses to protect themselves and their patients using best practices in their daily work life is a starting point. Along with this not just health workers but all together as nation we must learn to perform Hand Hygiene, Respiratory Hygiene and Cough Etiquette.

 

c) Kitchen Gardening
There is a clear growing empirical evidence that reveals the value of experiencing nature of mental health. Novel corona virus pandemic has crossed all the limits to test our wellbeing, be it mental or be it physical. A regular dose of gardening can improve your health. Gardening gives people a creative way to change their stress and frustration into something beautiful offering self satisfaction and joy. Kitchen Gardening has many benefits. When we start growing a small portion of the food we tend to compare it with the one which we buy from vegetable market. First it gives a satisfaction of creativity. Second it gives you a reference point of comparing the food quality. And most importantly it will help you to stay fit besides helping you to know your food better.

Growing edibles is both pleasurable and laborious. When you sit down to eat your work, there is a sense of satisfaction — not only the lofty feeling of empowerment but also the more practical reward of consuming food that is fresh and nutritious.

The corona virus pandemic forced many of us to be confined into our homes for extended periods of time, but gardening had become a popular trend and helping people to get outside while bringing them a little peace of mind. Planting and gardening can be very peaceful activity and since COVID-19 had drastically impacted our way of life, many have taken up the outdoor hobby with their kids. In the midst of a global pandemic, when everything around us began to shut down only the kitchen gardeners might have felt so fortunate. Most of us were working from home and would wake up moments before one had to log in to work. It is just dreadful. The days felt grey and we want more. If this is exactly your feeling then try out your green thumb.

At the end of this article, I would like to grab your attention to help each other for a better world tomorrow. If we do not stand and demand for the change and at the same time practicing the same we will never get it, even our next generation will face better and greater problem than what we are facing today. In order to see the greater good in future, it is our action today which will decide what time we will enter tomorrow. Take a leap of faith and try it from now. We may make mistakes along the way but it will worth it.

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