Preventing Future Pandemics – UPSC GS2

What measures should be taken to prevent future waves of pandemic disaster?
  • Strong Surveillance System:
    • Strong surveillance system is needed to identify or predict future waves.
    • The Central and State government should use real-time data by encouraging reliable reporting and initiating standardised definitions.
    • Review mechanisms should be strengthened. It will detect the outbreak in the initial stages and extinguish it before the pandemic spreads to other areas.
    • Simultaneously, genomic sequencing in real-time in the fixed proportion of samples needs to be prioritized. It will identify the Mutant variants causing outbreaks.
  • Ramping Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity:
    • India has a proven capacity to scale up testing facilities within a short period of time.
    • The Central government should invite foreign manufacturing firms to collaborate with Indian firms under the ‘Make in India’ Programme’.
    • Fast-tracking the manufacture of all vaccines that has been approved for use by various regulatory authorities through a single-window clearance.
  • Adopting One Health Approach:
    • Nearly 60% of known infectious diseases and up to 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin. Adopting the ‘One Health’ agenda can prevent future pandemics because it ensures that environmental health and animal health are given similar priority as human health.
  • Robust Public Health Workforce:
    • Front-line workers play an indispensable part in surveillance, contract-tracing, and mobilising people for primary healthcare services, including vaccination. Hence, we need to ensure that one Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker is hired for every 1,000 people. Further, an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and nurse practitioner are hired for every 5,000 people.
    • To provide access to critical care capacity for all, we need to ensure at least one hospital with 100 beds. It should include beds with emergency and critical care services that caters to a population of 30,000-50,000.

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