BENGALURU: While experts opine that the most severe phase of Covid is behind us, the two years of the pandemic not only exposed issues in the country’s healthcare system but also unlocked avenues to introduce positive changes to better prepare for unforeseen health emergencies.
At a panel discussion on ‘Post-pandemic Shift -- How to prepare better for the next health crisis, at the Global Investors Meet 2022 on Friday, World Health Organisation Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said, “The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in our system. Very few healthcare systems in the world were able to handle the situation. That speaks of resilience and also highlights the need to have the required supply of essential commodities which can save lives.”
Narayana Health Chairman Dr Devi Prasad Shetty said India has done well in controlling the number of Covid deaths, owing to the nature of the disease.
“Anywhere in the world, Covid requires only two kinds of treatment. What is the treatment in England? Oxygen and steroids! And that’s what made the difference. We drive on a highway and find a hospital every few km, where there is oxygen and steroids. Interestingly, most patients were treated in smaller nursing homes, rather than larger hospitals, and we brought down the mortality. However, in Western countries, they didn’t have the privilege because of the zoning system where the number of beds is restricted,” he added.
He, however, expressed concern over the lack of nurses and hoped that the issue would be mitigated soon.
In response, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said the government is readying new medical colleges in five districts by 2023, apart from several trauma centres. “The lessons we learnt from Covid is that the future of healthcare should be personalised, predictive, preventive, and curative.”