By: Rommel K Manwong
* with permission to post
Fear and uncertainty are on top of any pandemic. Currently, there are not so many places in the world where the corona virus remains unknown. From the time it broke up, it spread like a disastrous fire and much effort to contain it is yet to be done. To this effect, people suddenly become religious and spiritual. But from here, there are more or less good things that it brought us besides hope and optimism.
PREPAREDNESS - People preparedness to the unwanted situation is being tested at the utmost point. When the government took the matter seriously by enhanced community quarantine and lock down, it made people challenged to think about how to respond to the socioeconomic impacts. It altered the mindset of people to innovate and create survival schemes. Positively, it brought us into a higher level of global health security concern, that requires global preparedness.
AWARENESS – People started to understand the differences and commonalities of an outbreak, an epidemic and a pandemic. Everyone became aware that things can get worst at indefinite time. COVID-19 is another eye opener for us to work out on the fundamentals of good planning and preparations.
NOTIFICATION AND SURVEILLANCE – countries and organizations are taught to prioritize technical solutions in the identification, diagnostics and speedy response even at short notice of an outbreak. Deep realization now comes that successful containment of pandemic relies on early recognition of human-to-human transmission, which requires a system for surveillance – the detection, collection, analysis, assessment and timely reporting of information pertaining to a pandemic. It further set that the early detection of a pandemic is crucial to a faster implementation measures to stop it.
DISINFECTION AND STERILIZATION – People learn to disinfect and sterilize. With the shortage of respirator masks as many people are considering wearing masks in public, people realized to go back to the basics of cleanliness. Positively, people are into the practice of enhanced personal hygiene.
ENHANCEMENT – After review of existing plans, policies, and programs, may organizations adopted to enhance their manuals involving global health security. Some companies realized the deficiency of plans against any outbreak, others just realized the need to create pandemic plans as part of their crisis management initiatives.
MITIGATION - Given the shortages of test kits in many countries, mitigation measures are being realized. Positively, many countries are taking extraordinary measures. The suspension of travels and efforts to reduce crowds are but some of these examples. The absence of specific vaccines and an exhausted health system everywhere made every country rely on community interventions. Although the challenge is to make the best use of available resources and tools to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.
INVESTMENT – elevated awareness not only to disaster preparedness and response management but also resiliency and recovery programs has been observed. Investment to improve pandemic preparedness is ignited to a new level. As such, countries and organizations will take new steps for investing in pandemic research, training and capacity building and taking side on technology-enabled or automated response management. In the longer term, investment to technological capabilities become a crucial tool in the fight against the “unseen enemy”.
COLLABORATION – as compared to other natural disasters, pandemics found to be difficult to contain geographically and that damages can be mitigated significantly through prompt intervention and collaboration. An imperative global health security, ethics advocacy and capacity building to deal with pandemic threats is prompted. Countries are reminded that any pandemic is a global problem that requires global solution.