|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 66-67
Till we win- India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
Kapil Yadav, KJ Subhashini
Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||03-May-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||17-May-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Jun-2021|
Dr. Kapil Yadav
Room No. 38, Old OT Block, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Yadav K, Subhashini K J. Till we win- India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Community Fam Med 2021;7:66-7
Authors : Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, Dr Gagandeep Kang, Dr Randeep Guleria
Year : 2020
Publisher : Penguin Books by Penguin Random House India
Pages : 352
ISBN : 9780143451808
COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest public health catastrophe of the century and arguably the first in human history in the current internet age. Excess of information, the bane of current internet age compounded by the ever-evolving science of COVID-19, has confounded not only the general public but doctors and scientists also. With the plethora of information on COVID-19, a common human gets lost in the flood of the truth and the myth. This book “Till We Win - India's Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic“ is a brave attempt to cut through the mist of the infodemics around COVID-19 pandemic.
The authors Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, Dr. Gagandeep Kang, and Dr. Randeep Guleria are renowned experts in the field of Public Health, Vaccine development, and Medicine and are at forefront of war against COVID-19 in India. The book dedicated to the ASHA workers highlights the key characteristic of India's public health system and its forbearance on volunteers. The overall framework of the book is well designed, that the readers can easily navigate the information provided in the book organised in four distinct sections.
The first section “Understanding the challenge” focuses on the epidemiology and dynamics of disease transmission, historical events of major pandemics, introducing the SARS-CoV-2 virus, discussing how the new novel virus is a bigger challenge than all previous coronaviruses, clinical characteristics of the disease, and giving a broad overview before going into further details of the novel disease.
The second section “Mounting a response” takes the readers to the joint strategies and actions taken by the Government to curb the disease spread – imposing draconian lockdown, public health interventions to break the chain of transmission by contact tracing, test-trace-test-isolate strategy, physical distancing and use of masks, and the hammer and the dance theory. This section also discusses the governance mechanisms and team approach at union and state levels, highlighting the indicative list of getting the health system ready and presenting the key role of frontline workers who never gave up in the battle against COVID-19.
The third section “Science, solidarity, and hope” provides information available on drugs and therapies, various clinical trials in the race, followed by details on the vaccines and its types, and phases of trials in vaccine development and COVID-19 vaccines that are in the line for development and approval.
The final section “Getting future ready” introduces the general public to the health system functioning and strategies for strengthening the health system amid this pandemic, and ends with preparing the people for the new-normal. The authors have acknowledged the importance of the Thai health-policy phrase “Triangle that moves the Mountain” – the mountain being any major problem, and the triangle being knowledge, people's participation, and political involvement with which any huge problem can be resolved.
The book with its greater focus on public health as compared to clinical medicine underscores the fact that the war against COVID-19 will be won in the community rather than hospitals.
The narration style of the book keeps the reader engaged and presents even highly technical topics in an easy and lucid manner. The authors provide simple yet scientifically correct definitions of many new terms, “Pandemic”, “Quarantine” and “Contact tracing” that have become part of COVID-19 vernacular during this pandemic. The timeline of the pandemic has been very well captured by the authors. The authors have included real-life experiences and the fact that all three authors were directly engaged with the national response against COVID-19 does bring that lived experience from the frontline trenches to the readers of the book. The book has highlighted the principles of primary healthcare – community participation, equitable distribution, intersectoral co-ordination, and use of appropriate technology in tackling the pandemic with stressing on community participation as the key components in fighting COVID-19. Special mention in the book of the frontline workers and their struggles is well deserved acknowledgement of the role played by them in this pandemic and is highly appreciable. It makes it easy for the readers to get the essence of each topic written by highlighting the “lessons learned during that particular period of pandemic.” The “2-3-2-4” approach of COVID-19 appropriate behaviors, steps of wearing mask, steps of hand washing, three “wells” to be followed, two “connects” will make a difference in the behavior of every reader. The book has frequently asked questions that help the reader to clear all the doubts related to that topic. The “COVID-19 guidelines to be followed as you recover from the disease,” mentioned in the book is the need of the hour for the readers. The authors spread hope within the readers to adapt to the new-normal and motivate them to follow healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Authors have reviewed the key strategies and actions of the government at national level in combating COVID-19; however, a more nuanced critique of the same would have been valuable addition to the book. The overtly accommodating tone of authors to the government response to COVID-19 may be found misplaced by some. The contentious aspects such as health system unpreparedness, nationwide lockdown, devastation of migrant workers livelihoods, approval of non- evidence based treatment modalities, and havoc created in the country's economy and health system should have been dealt with in greater detail by the authors.
In words of the renowned poet Tulsidas Goswami, it is duty of physician to preserve the nation by telling the truth devoid of fear and favor.
Overall, the book is simple and easy to understand that makes even the lay people understand the disease, and the authors have been quite successful in it. The book is highly recommended for those who are eager to know what happened during the initial phase of pandemic and how government addressed the challenges.