India's fight against COVID - The Success story

-- Athulya Jayadevan, IIK Young Contributor

Sunday, January 15, 2023

“India is set to defeat Covid-19. Every Indian is making it possible. Together India will defeat COVID-19.” –PM Narendra Modi

World health Organisation (WHO) declared Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ on 30 January 2020. The first cases of COVID-19 in India were reported on 30 January 2020 in the state Kerala, among three Indian medical students who had returned from Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic. Lockdowns were announced in Kerala on 23 March, and in the rest of the country on 25 March. Under erstwhile Health Minister KK Shailaja’s leadership, Kerala ensured that its healthcare systems were not overwhelmed, as occurred in several states. Well-coordinated efforts from local governments, volunteers, and civil society groups also aided the government in combating COVID-19. While Kerala was amongst the states with the highest number of cases, it kept the official case fatality rate below 0.5 percent for the initial months.

People were distressed as the Pandemic brought a great deal of uncertainty about the future and everyone carried strong feelings of fear, helplessness, etc. People were not prepared for such situations and didn’t have much knowledge about the disease. Social constraints in the COVID-19 pandemic forced individuals to adapt to isolation and increase the prevalence of conflicts in the family, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder.

India prepared for the pandemic with the development of a national emergency plan and the early establishment of screening at entry points and molecular diagnostic facilities across the country with a network of public health laboratories. India had the 2nd highest disease burden and had to witness one of the fastest-growing COVID-19 pandemics in the world. The lockdowns and travel restriction enforced during initial months were soon found to be not sustainable as a long term solution.

Soon the country released BBV154 COVID Vaccine, the first intranasal vaccine approved by DCGI for primary immunization against COVID-19 in the 18+ age group for restricted use in emergency situation developed in the country under Mission COVID Suraksha. Then came COVAXIN®, India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV). Other vaccines include COVISHIELD™ and AstraZeneca.

As PM Narendra Modi said, “Credit should be given to Indian scientists and entrepreneurs. it is due to their talent and hard work that India is truly Aatmanirbar when it comes to vaccines.” India's vaccination programme was unique as it delivered access, affordability and availability of vaccines. It succeeded sending vaccines domestically and internationally. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, India emerged as the pharmacy of the world during the COVID pandemic. The supply of medicines and vaccines, particularly to the Global South countries, earned enormous goodwill. The outpouring is a reflection of India’s importance as a partner. Simply put, India’s success in beating the pandemic from next door is crucial for the worldwide fight against Covid-19.

During April to June of 2021, India witnessed a massive second wave of COVID-19 putting immense pressure on the health infrastructure of the country. Just a few months after this tsunami of covid-19 infections, on October 21st Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, declared that India had administered its billionth dose of vaccine. In several cities the dedicated covid-19 wards were getting virtually empty. India’s economy was still wonky, but for most of the summer stock market indices have been reaching new heights.

During COVID, the government set up several facilities for the citizens. The government doubled the amount of grain it normally provides as monthly ration to all beneficiaries. Students were provided online classes through television channels and other platforms.

To prevent the recent spurt of omicron variant XBB.1.5 from some of the neighbouring countries, India has made RTPCR tests compulsory for travellers coming from such nations. India has also started country-wide health readiness checks to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to prevent spread of the new variant. India’s struggle to defeat COVID-19 and bring its people back to normalcy will be celebrated on this 26th January 2023 on the nation’s 74th Republic day. India’s success story will be well remembered with pride by every Indian for years to come.

‘100 crore vaccine mark’ is not just a number, but a new chapter in history. India’s vaccine campaign is a living example of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas aur Sabka Prayas’.

Jai Hind!
Happy Republic Day!

Athulya Jayadevan
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Unnimaya Unnikrishnan
Friday, January 27, 2023
Well-written Athulya.. Congratulations 👏👏👌

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