Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Need of the Hour

It's here, it's in the air around us and you could be the next victim! The scare seems to have spread faster than the virus itself. After SARS, Anthrax, Chikungunya, Bird Flu etc of yesteryear, its now the turn of Swine Flu to challenge mankind. With such an alarming rate, more and more hospitals should bear the onus to screen people. The deadly disease is spreading its wings rapidly and it's a herculean task that the Health Ministry now faces, to curtail it. This can be taken as a classic example of "preparation at the n-th hour". The Ministry has overlooked 5 simple words - 'Prevention is better than cure', which ironically stands 'out of the crowd' in every advertisement the Ministry has put up all the years henceforth. The disease has been in the news over the past couple of months, mostly in the Western world. I think, this is the first time that the Eastern world stood up to screen people coming from the West, another classic piece of reversal of the practice where the West many a times have screened people from the East for reasons beyond medical too.

Though few countries have set up good monitoring services in their respective airports which are the most significant entry points, there seems to be no sense of urgency or emergency in the Indian airports. A friend of mine had to travel last week and she had a very bad cough( luckily regular). She had all the reports stating it to be regular cough ready to be produced in the airport but didn't get a chance to show tem! I was shocked to know that there was no sign of screening anywhere in the airport. Another friend of mine was asked by mouth if he had swine flu!! Having said no, he was allowed to board the plane. If you consider this could be the case with domestic terminals you would just be fooling yourself. Another of my friend's sister had arrived from Europe last week and all she was given was a form to fill, which asked her whether she had any of the following symptoms. So the equation is simple, fill the form and proceed. On one hand, the Ministry itself has been broadcasting that though there may be lack of symptoms, a thorough test would only provide with the actual status, on the other hand we have people getting cleared blindly if they show no symptoms.

I would agree that it's practically a big task to screen all the people, but that would ensure to atleast curtail the disease. Though a big task, its worth the time, for the individuals as well as the society. If not a total checkup I would suggest something better than form-filling should be in place by now after the nation's death toll has reached 2digit-figures. Hard screening at airports could have contained the disease (if not totally) and the situation could have been less alarming. With such measures not taken, its a sincere request on behalf of the society to enhance the facilities in airport foremost along with those being done in cities and towns. It's worth the waiting time in airports.
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Appoos' said...

dude, a small correction, its chikungunya and nt as its spelt.
and as far as the screening is concerned, well we are known for our "lite le re baap" attitude, and that is what is happening.. and the public shouldnt panic the way they are now. u "may" contract the disease only if come in contact with people who already have symptoms or from people who have been in contact with flu affected people. simple precautionary measures like covering mouths while sneezing/coughing, washing hands after blowing ur nose(if u do), using a detergent to wash fomites after use will help prevent spread of disease. and for almighty sake, a simple cold doesnt become a swine flu, especially if there is no suspected patient in your area.
the media, as i found out is playing spoilsport by scaring the wits out of the people. they should be responsible and try to spread the messages of prevention rather than highlighting the weaknesses in the health system dealing with flu, coz the panic that it creates leads to the collapse of the system, and the possible risk of this reaching epidemic proportions.

Post Man said...

LOL....thanks dude....I seem to have given the nasty thing a much cooler name a.k.a "Chicken Guinea"!!!
Yes....what people need is awareness. Instead of creating an atmosphere of tension amongst the masses, an intuitive approach as in, creating awareness could be carried out by the media. It was really pleasing to see a group of doctors taking to the Bangalore streets and educating the people. Telecasting nasty-looking zoomed versions of viruses mutating and explaining how they kill us is helping only to increase heart rates.
The virus is prevalent in many countries. With a large inflow/outflow a better screening should be setup. As the Govt. has started taking care of the situation in cities, probably the private firms could come forward to tackle the issue at international airports. This is one of a probable solution. The Govt. is not incapable, it just didn't start things at the right time. No worries, now that it's working hard let the private firms too join the fight and tackle in cleverly.

Arnav said...

true , we really need to take some serious actions..
Last week on Tuesday I was travelling from pune--> Mumbai --> Kolkata . I was shocked that there was no cheking at all... I being from Pune should have been tested at the Mumbai airport, as i boarded the flight to kolkata .. What if I was infected?? I would have spread it to mumbai and kolkata airport ....
We really need to take care of our own selves now , we need to wear masks while going to cities like mumbai and pune.. and follow all thte precautions ..