Fighting ‘hunger virus’
The deadly and disturbing Covid-19 pandemic has surfaced the fragility of human life and the gaps and weaknesses in the global economy, the trade and health care system, social order and disaster response mechanisms.
This pandemic also gave birth to socio-economic consequences as a ‘hunger virus’. Most of the world population who live near, at or below the poverty line struggle even to get food, let alone other needs. This view is also supported by Oxfam’s July 9 publication, ‘The hunger virus: how Covid-19 triggers hunger in a world of hunger’, which says that Covid-19 deepens the hunger crisis at a world hunger hotspot and creates a new epicenter. starving all over the world.
The complete locking policy, as we have also seen in India and other parts of the world, was found to be unsustainable socio-economically or sustainably. The New York Times, in an article, described the failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Also Team Sebastian, in one of his ‘Conflict Zones’ segments on DW TV, strongly berated the Indian government for the hasty and unplanned lockdown of March 24 that left millions of workers in cities stranded without jobs, housing, food, and means of transportation .
However, Pakistan, according to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision, realized early enough that total closure was not a sustainable and feasible solution. Therefore, the PTI government, while still paying attention to the economic challenges and difficulties faced by ordinary citizens, prioritizes providing assistance to ordinary people, laborers, daily breadwinners, the poor, traders and the business community. In this case, the ‘smart locking’ policy is implemented strategically, based on real time data and only targets areas where higher incidence of disease is observed or reported. The ‘testing, tracing and quarantine’ (TTQ) strategy is used as part of the containment strategy.
The ‘smart locking’ was not an easy decision, and proved to be a test of strong leadership and courage in the midst of scathing criticism from various places. However, as later world recognized, it proved to be the most effective and pro-people approach to dealing with a pandemic. The Bloomberg news agency also called the smart locking approach the only hope of returning to a more normal life because the world was waiting for vaccines. Also, Business Standard, a news platform based in Bangladesh, when praising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policy on smart locking, stated that “But now that the results have shown that the action was successful, many developing countries also promoted the policy”.
Pakistan, despite limited resources and economic difficulties, efficiently handles the pandemic situation through visionary leadership, realistic and futuristic policies, independence and effective coordination between federal and provincial health authorities although ‘health’ is the subject of transfer after the amendment to 18
When the PTI government came to power, the health sector in general, and the epidemic and disease surveillance and response mechanism in particular, fell apart. The ruling government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, made a busy effort to correct the situation and correct past mistakes. This progressive approach has proven to be very conducive to managing the Covid-19 pandemic effectively and efficiently.
Through a tailor-made strategy, the capacity of our health institutions is enhanced along with our testing capabilities and the number of laboratories. The original capacity was built, as a result Pakistan now not only manufactures ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), but also exports the same thing.
The National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) has proven to be a nerve center for synergizing and articulating an integrated national effort towards Covid-19. Taking another step in the right direction, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Ehsaas Emergency Money program to provide cash assistance to millions of poor people who lost their jobs due to the plague. The driving idea behind economic stimulus initiatives is to support small businesses and protect the livelihoods of workers and other workers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also been proven as a test of leadership throughout the world. In the South Asian context, Prime Minister Modi’s weak leadership and mismanagement of the situation were widely exposed and widely criticized. On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visionary leadership, pro-people policies, timely decisions and the right handling of the situation are highly valued throughout the world.
A key take based on Pakistan’s handling of the crisis is that health forms an integral part of a country’s national security matrix, and therefore must be prioritized as did the PTI government. The strategic implementation of ‘smart locking’ has proven to be important to minimize the prevalence of disease, human suffering and the socio-economic impact of a pandemic. However, we must not be careless and complacent. Strict adherence to SOP, maintaining social distance and adopting preventive measures as defined by the government will make Pakistan home and dry.
As they say: “The tests we face in the journey of life are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us find our inner strength. We can only know how strong we are as we struggle and develop beyond the challenges we face “.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges, the Covid-19 pandemic also gives us all the opportunity to discover and exploit our hidden potentials and strengths.
The writer is the leader of the House of Representatives in the Senate.
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