DailyPost 1891

There is nothing to comment on the way these things have been handled in the indefinite watershed period of human history. How we responded to this, given the levels of technology, intelligence, communications and resources available to us, only posterity can take a call. There is no denying the fact that since the beginning of COVID-19 and even today basic data on COVID-19, which we have relied upon comes from Worldometer Coronavirus.  Worldometer is not a global agency, research or commercial outfit. ”Worldometer manually analyses, validates, and aggregates data from thousands of sources in real time on COVID-19 for a wide audience of caring people around the world. What a tragedy that governments, international agencies who have been tasked with this job, have kept aloof from this task.

The integrity of data, created in real time and disseminated for a global audience can be put to immense use for the benefit of prevention, spread, provisioning, treatment and cure of this disease and over a period of time, its elimination. If this is the strength of data, what would be the strength of health intelligence, which unfortunately even in the most difficult time of the century, could not become a discipline, which could stand on its own feet. Have gone through the ordeal for around 21 months by now, we have singularly failed to create this discipline and mechanism to serve mankind. Lack of health intelligence gave the first wave and the world was caught napping. The second wave in India *we faced the music because health intelligence was a lacunae, and whatever little we came to know or analyzed, we did not give heed to it.

We have reached a level where intelligence based on data, research and analysis is not even thought of. Some figures here and there, in dire circumstances, is managed to tide over the crisis. The benchmarks, thresholds, and the protocols are decided in an ad hoc manner to our peril. The disastrous results the world has been seeing over and over again, has certainly made it the biggest tragedy in the last one century. The approaches by different countries and smaller jurisdictions tell their own story. First we don’t know what is health intelligence, what needs to be created for the purposes of pandemic management. It is a health crisis primarily, finally impacting literally everything. Whatever little intelligence we have globally, there is no information sharing mechanism to cater to each other’s requirements and of the world.

Worthwhile heath intelligence sharing cannot happen through press releases, press conferences, some videos, diplomatic channels or pronouncements of the World Health Organization. COVID-19 had given the best opportunity for creating this health intelligence and sharing mechanism based on the protocols and relationships they would have proactively created and also provide with the use cases. When the first stages were missing it was left to the local authorities to react in the manner they wanted based on local pulls and pressures and at  the very best on the surging number of cases and the health infrastructure they lay their hands on, create or manage in any manner. The objective and empirical approach has thus been singularly missing. Adhoc health management with unimaginable casualties is what we achieved globally. Omicron is on our doorsteps, do we have the wherewithal to perform differently.


Sanjay Sahay

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