The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed many lives in the last two years. The economy has also suffered due to its impact. However, the pandemic is not over yet and there is a risk of rising infection rates in the new year. If we can bring the people under the vaccination programme, the effect will be less.
We hope that if the infection rate increases again in the next year, less people would be infected as many people have already taken the vaccine. The country is also going to start producing vaccines.
However, there is still vaccine inequality in our country, which should be eliminated. Marginalised people need to be vaccinated more and more.
Our doctors now know about the disease, which is a good sign. The non-Covid-19 patients were not receiving proper services for a long time in the hospitals due to the pandemic. However, the normal activities of the hospitals have started again. Now all the patients are receiving treatment equally.
Now, we just need to raise awareness among everyone. We have to obey hygiene rules, reduce crowds and get everyone vaccinated. Normal work will continue, but everything has to be done according to the hygiene rules.
However, Covid-19 infection is not the end of the story. We have to reform the health sector, focusing on the benefit of people and it should be a part of the whole development plan of the country. We need to ensure universal health coverage to address all the health issues, including the pandemic.
Many countries including China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, even Thailand and Bhutan have universal health coverage. We also need to ensure this for all. Setting up five-star hospitals with modern equipment only will not do, we need to create an environment where all people can get medical services. Only then will people get better services and the tendency to go abroad for medical treatment will decrease.
Dr M Mushtuq Husain is adviser, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR)