Back

The Silver Lining Behind The COVID-19 Cloud

- Priyanka Bajaj: Nutrition Expert, WeCan

This pandemic has led to an intense nationwide focus on health and nutrition. We should not waste this opportunity.

The COVID 19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has brought a lot of serious problems for India. Disease, death, social unrest and economic collapse are not easy to deal with simultaneously,particularly for a country as large and populous as ours. But is that all that that this pandemic has brought?

The answer is a vehement no.

When was the last time citizens of India collectively deliberated about the health infrastructure of the country? When was the role of immunity in battling a disease pondered upon by the common man on such a massive scale? Did people across the country ever realise the importance of regularly washing hands with soap, the way they do now? When did mainstream media report on hunger, food insecurity, health, and nutrition on such a regular basis?

COVID 19 has definitely changed a lot in India. Health and nutrition have suddenly taken centre stage for almost every citizen. People are eager to learn how to deal with infections and improve their nutrition status, and understand the nuances of health infrastructure. Phrases like “Flattening the curve”, “breaking the chain’’, “immunity” and are longer esoteric scientific jargon, but a part of our common discourse.

Health and nutrition issues have always been affecting people, but COVID 19 has forced people to seek a deeper understanding about these subjects. Never have the front-line workers, the ANM, ASHA, and Aanganwadi Workers been recognized the way they have been now. Although this may not be the best time to assess the India’s response in combating COVID 19, it is very clear that we are heavily dependent on our front-line warriors to deal with the crisis.

While we may still have to wait for a vaccine or treatment for COVID 19, the numbers show that India with all its challenges has dramatically upscaled its capacities in health and nutrition infrastructure. The Ministry of Finance has announced its plans to hike the GDP spend on public health from the current 1.3 % to 2.5% by 2025. A little above Rs 4000 crore has been released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for COVID 19 activities, and Rs 4300 crore has been disbursed for the purchase of essential items and test kits. And a whopping Rs 15000 crore has been allocate for containment of COVID 19.

But while a lot has been done to prevent the infection from spreading and assist those who require food, health and other services, a lot more needs to be done. As India puts all its efforts to deal with the crisis and revive the economy, in order to strengthen the health and nutrition landscape it must focus on the 5D’s: Dialogue, Decentralize, Digitalize, Data and Diversification.

  • Dialogue is essential to empower the frontline workers to help them deal with the current crisis, and after that, to bring all stakeholders together to foster effective convergence and generate awareness among the community about their rights, entitlements and roles.
  • Decentralizing responsibility and accountability is a must to enable local governance to provide customized solutions in a timely fashion.
  • Digital outreach is extremely necessary to ensure the masses receive the correct messages, particularly in these times of multiple communication channels and fake news.
  • Data must be the basis for taking strategic decisions, and comprehensive data visualization tools should be used to scale up and optimise resource utilization.
  • Diversified approaches are needed to involve multiple sectors, and make health and nutrition a focus of the non-health sector too.

Moving forward, the key would be to set the basics right in the health system, but equally crucial will be to invest in food systems, social protection systems and WASH systems. India has a humongous task of making communities aware about health and nutrition practices, especially the vulnerable population like women and children.

The need of the hour is to invest in ensuring diversification of diets, optimum nutrition, and timely rolling out of cost effective, scalable, sustainable, gender sensitive and innovative
interventions. It’s time to leverage technology for agriculture, incentivising production of diverse foods and its storage, processing and preservation, food fortification in large scale programs and robust behaviour change interventions.

A crisis like COVID 19 is fortunately rare, but it has also brought immense opportunities, and what we make of them will define how our present will be judged by our future. As the Swiss doctor,psychiatrist, aviator and explorer Bertrand Piccard put it, “Pioneering spirit should continue, not to conquer the planet or space, but rather to improve the quality of life”.

 

Twitter: @ WeCan4Poshan
Facebook: Wecollaboratefornutrition
LinkedIn: WeCan4POSHAN
Website: www.wecollaborate4nutrition.org

Relief, Recovery, Resilience to combat COVID-19

Relief, Recovery, Resilience to combat COVID-19

Know More
Ensuring last mile CONNECTION in the times of COVID-19

Ensuring last mile CONNECTION in the times of COVID-19

Know More
A tale of two Sakhis – Fighting Covid-19 Pandemic in India’s villages

A tale of two Sakhis – Fighting Covid-19 Pandemic in India’s villages

Know More
Community awareness and participation program in Bhilwara city

Community awareness and participation program in Bhilwara city

Know More
Corona warrior Mr. Sujit Sharan Prasad

Corona warrior Mr. Sujit Sharan Prasad

Know More
COVID-19 Awareness Activities carried out by CAPC Pali

COVID-19 Awareness Activities carried out by CAPC Pali

Know More
An Overlooked Strategy To Remedy Malnutrition

An Overlooked Strategy To Remedy Malnutrition

Know More
Home Based care for young child (HBYC) for survival and early childhood development

Home Based care for young child (HBYC) for survival and early childhood development

Know More
How India’s nutrition security can be improved

How India’s nutrition security can be improved

Know More
Poshan Maah 2020: An Anganwadi worker braving all odds amid Coronavirus to keep her village healthy

Poshan Maah 2020: An Anganwadi worker braving all odds amid Coronavirus to keep her village healthy

Know More
Supporting Migrant Workers to Build Resilience in Communities

Supporting Migrant Workers to Build Resilience in Communities

Know More
CAPC Interventions during Corona Lock down Period- RUIDP Phase III

CAPC Interventions during Corona Lock down Period- RUIDP Phase III

Know More
Challenges and building resilience during COVID-19

Challenges and building resilience during COVID-19

Know More
Maternity services during the pandemic through improved IPC (Infection Prevention & Control) practices

Maternity services during the pandemic through improved IPC (Infection Prevention & Control) practices

Know More
Essential RMNCAH+N services in response to COVID-19 at Dumka Medical College, Jharkhand

Essential RMNCAH+N services in response to COVID-19 at Dumka Medical College, Jharkhand

Know More
A Platform for Nutrition to mitigate the impact of the current health crisis

A Platform for Nutrition to mitigate the impact of the current health crisis

Know More
Determination paves way even through toughest of terrains

Determination paves way even through toughest of terrains

Know More
COVID-19 Awareness activities for the general people

COVID-19 Awareness activities for the general people

Know More
C2IQ: Nutrition Partners Go Digital To Tackle COVID-19

C2IQ: Nutrition Partners Go Digital To Tackle COVID-19

Know More
Empowered to shield the community against COVID19

Empowered to shield the community against COVID19

Know More
Innovation in times of crisis, Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP)

Innovation in times of crisis, Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP)

Know More
In These Troubled Times, The Tough Get Going

In These Troubled Times, The Tough Get Going

Know More
Poshan Champions: the real heroes of nutrition

Poshan Champions: the real heroes of nutrition

Know More
Fight Pandemic with Smart Solutions

Fight Pandemic with Smart Solutions

Know More
HRP App: Serene reaching High Risk Pregnant Women amid COVID-19 chaos

HRP App: Serene reaching High Risk Pregnant Women amid COVID-19 chaos

Know More
Safe Delivery App (SDA): Technology to rescue in times of pandemic

Safe Delivery App (SDA): Technology to rescue in times of pandemic

Know More
Family Participatory Care (FPC) sessions in Firozepur & Moga Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU)

Family Participatory Care (FPC) sessions in Firozepur & Moga Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU)

Know More
Connect with Us

You may write to us at crc@ipeglobal.com or reach us at +91 11 4075 5900