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Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan  (ANI)
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan (ANI)

'We are living in a phase of a silent war': Harsh Vardhan on Covid-19

While addressing Boston Centre for Excellence in Health and Human Development, Union Health Minister speaks about various aspects of the pandemic

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, on Sunday said amid coronavirus pandemic, the world is "living in a phase of a silent war".

While digitally addressing the Boston Center of Excellence for Health and Human Development through video conference and appreciating it for bringing together experts to research a better cure and better healthcare for all, Vardhan compared the ongoing pandemic to a transitory state of our civilization. He said, “We have not seen the Spanish Flu, World War I, and World war II. But we are living in a phase of a silent war. Many people perished. And in many cases, they could not be visited by their dear ones during the last moments of life. Their last-rites and funerals were also had to be done very humbly. And those millions who survived also have many complications, besides the financial burden put on them."

Saluting millions of front-line health workers who bravely carried on with their duty in spite of risk and adversity, including professionals other than doctors and nurses like the janitors, the EMT, ambulance doctors who are unseen pillars of the health care system, Vardhan elaborated India’s strategy to contain Covid-19.

“It is not the first one and definitely not the last one. But this COVID 19 will soon be a past episode of the 21st century. Our treatment protocol for COVID patients is well defined now. Fewer and fewer people infected are dying. We will have vaccines available very soon, and the cases will significantly go down in the next few months," he said.

Detailing that India has already mastered all components of modern medicine from antibiotics to emergency care, surgery, immunization, and vaccine, the Minister noted that the focus is now on the cost, quality, and affordability of this system. He elaborated that India has already made strides in remote diagnostics and treatment using latest telemedicine technology to treat people in many of India’s 7,00,000 remote villages.

While Covid-19 has brought great miseries to millions of people, businesses, and trades, Vardhan pointed out the silver lining in this episode along with India’s zeal to turn this crisis into an opportunity:

i. People appreciate the reduction in pollution due to closure of factories and reduction in vehicular traffic there is a push for behavioural change to achieve similar outcomes in future. The general public is becoming concerned for mother nature.

ii. Office work, attending classes in schools and colleges is no more about being trapped in brick and mortar walls.The global community has successfully created virtual offices and classrooms, pushing the boundaries of our telecommunication capabilities.

iii.The rapidness with which we have been able to create vaccines will have a cascading effect on new technologies that will help us all in the near future in faster drug discoveries, lowering the cost and making it more affordable for poorer sections of our population. The process that used to take ten years now produces vaccines almost in 10 months – developed, tested, and soon will be available in the market.

iv. The knowledge of drug discovery will also help us to develop in several new frontiers as they may enable us to find a cure for many viral ailments which do not respond to anti-biotics. He also expressed hope that this research may have potential in treating super-bugs.

Speaking on Yoga and Ayurveda, he mentioned them as India’s gift to the world. He said, “The ancient knowledge and health-management system have been using nature’s cure for millennia. The time has come for modern medicine and India’s traditional system to go together with an integrative approach to impact our lives and much better disease outcomes."

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