India 2020: second worst hit country in the world

(Deepak Choudhary, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Juwairiah Abdur Raheem is a 3rd year medical student studying in Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Telangana, India. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

India, the 2nd most populated country in the world is losing countless lives to COVID-19 with the recent harrowing single day spike of 2.6 lakh cases, surpassing Brazil and now being the 2nd worst hit country in the world. India has recorded a total of 1.8 lakh official deaths due to COVID-19. The real numbers might be even higher and intimidating. Why/How did India witness this horrifying day, with its lowest recorded cases in just February 2021?

In early March 2021, the Minister of Health and Family welfare, while addressing the Delhi Medical Association’s 62nd Annual Delhi State Medical Conference (MEDICON 2021) said “We are in the end game of the Covid-19 pandemic in India”. It was undoubtedly around this time that the cases began to surge again. As a developing country, India was neither prepared to fight the pandemic nor did it utilise the time efficiently to prepare for the II wave. In 2020, the Government of India spent thousands of crores on Central Vista Redevelopment Project and the building of new parliament which is continuing even during lockdown.

At present, Indian political parties are more worried about the elections, and have side-tracked the measures taken to control the pandemic. Due to the increasing number of cases, the health system has crumbled and doctors are breaking down, mentally disturbed and distressed, trying to keep their morale high. Hospital beds, medicines, oxygen supplies and even vaccines are deficient. People are dying due to the lack of treatment. India is not yet equipped to handle a pandemic, despite the given leading time of a year. If only India had taken effective measures and slowly built up its health care system to control the pandemic, it surely wouldn’t have been this bad. It is high time that India starts investing in health infrastructure, oxygen plants and vaccines. The thousands of crores claimed to upgrade the health infrastructure by the authorities is missing. India spends just 1.5% of its GDP on public healthcare, far lower than the recommended percentage by the National Health Policy. The globe is still under attack but well prepared to fight COVID-19 and conquer it, yet our defences are in disarray and priorities misplaced with the government giving cue of everything being under control and the virus being slowly defeated. It is their arrogance and disregard to human life that has bought India to the present crippling stage of despair.

Declaring a National Health Emergency can protect many against the deadly virus. Medical colleges are taking steps by adopting smaller centres and providing necessary support. It is also the responsibility of an individual to self-quarantine and to strictly adhere to the covid norms. Vaccination should be continuously encouraged and administered to all those who are eligible and ready to take the shot.

About the author

Juwairiah Abdur Raheem is a 3rd year medical student studying in Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Telangana, India. She is an active member of Medical Students Association of India (MSAI) and an enthusiast who writes to raise awareness on current health events. She has written several articles on COVID-19 and volunteers both offline and online to educate people and bring a positive attitude in their perspective.

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