Global Public Health expert and President, AIPH University, Bhubaneswar Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi prioritize the action against COVID-19 at this critical juncture.
“At this juncture, the first step towards preventing coronavirus COVID-19 is understating the importance of laboratory testing and surveillance. It is because, the virus spreads through communities by person to person contact and not just from outsiders. As per the present practice, we calculate the number of cases only after a person shows variety of symptoms and his sample results come out as positive. But this could just be the tip of the ice berg”, says Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi, a global public health expert and the President of AIPH University, Bhubaneswar. Dr. Panigrahi is currently the Prof. of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC, USA.
While sharing his insight on the subject through a video, Dr. Panigrahi adds that, “It is important to note that in the first few days of the infection, this disease remains silent. This means that for the first 2-14 days of the infection period, the individual may not show any symptom and hence may carry around and spread the disease to others without knowledge. So it becomes necessary for us to catch hold of all the cases and stop them from spreading the virus to community”.
While lauding the steps of the central and state governments to tackle this pandemic, he highlights the importance of surveillance and laboratory testing of the high risk groups which could be the best way to be sure beforehand. “Though there is a dearth of testing kits and laboratories in India for testing of high risk groups and suspect individuals, this need has to addressed as soon as possible”, opines Dr. Panigrahi.
The second point he emphasizes is about hospital preparedness. The hospitals should set aside isolation beds/wards while ensuring there is enough protective gear like N95 masks, gowns, gloves etc for the doctors, nurses and the medical personnel to operate safely while providing care to the affected. “We cannot afford our healthcare professionals to be sick in these testing times”, Dr. Panigrahi remarks.
The third thing Prof. Panigrahi elaborates upon is that we must stop the spread of COVID-19. He says that this is in the hands of the general public and every citizen in the country should take the matter with utmost seriousness. “Although the situation is critical, the mitigation is fairly simple. Stay Home, Stay Safe and be vigilant”, appeals Dr. Panigrahi.
Further, the public health expert goes on to say that if the public finds any suspect person infected with the virus, they should promptly inform the health authorities as this will be the biggest service to the country, right now.
“I am confident that an intelligent country like ours will be responsible enough to keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay before it starts to take a toll on us”, alerts off Dr. Panigrahi.
The world is caught in the midst of a new public health crisis in the wake of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. OdishaLIVE, a leading digital portal of Odisha, along with SwasthyaPlus, a niche health and wellness portal from Odisha is carrying out a digital media awareness campaign called ‘Coronaku Darana’ (Do not fear Corona). As part of this digital media initiative, the portal carries out routine updates, special stories, news stories on coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic as well as video news stories and interviews.