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   Table of Contents      
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 223-224

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Urgent Need to Scale up Public Health Emergency Response in the South-East Asia Region


1 Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) − Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission06-Jul-2020
Date of Decision06-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance15-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication16-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Professor Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu - 603108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_69_20

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  Abstract 


The ongoing Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has become a global public health emergency. In the South-East Asia Region (SEAR), as on 6 July, 2020, 8 out of 11 nations have reported cases of this disease. There is a significant need to urgently scale-up the measures such as surveillance, case detection, isolation, infection prevention & control, contact tracing, treatment, risk communication, etc. In conclusion, in the global battle against COVID-19, the South-East Asian Region has to accelerate their preparedness activities and public health emergency response. We can reduce the consequences of the disease only with coordinated, concerted and sustained efforts and it is the time for each one of us to play our part in the effective containment of the disease.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, preparedness, South-East Asia region, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Urgent Need to Scale up Public Health Emergency Response in the South-East Asia Region. MAMC J Med Sci 2020;6:223-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Urgent Need to Scale up Public Health Emergency Response in the South-East Asia Region. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 20];6:223-4. Available from: https://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2020/6/3/223/303595




  Introduction Top


The ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to remain a public health emergency of international concern.[1],[2] On the global front, a total of 11,125,245 cases and 528,204 deaths have been reported across the 216 affected nations and territories.[1] Though the American region and the European region at present are the most affected, the incidence of the disease in the South-East Asia Region (SEAR) is increasing at a fast pace.[1],[2] In the SEAR region, 918,591 cases and 24,473 deaths are being notified, which amounts to a case fatality rate of 2.66%.[1] Moreover, India and Bangladesh together account for the maximum share of the reported cases and deaths in the region.[1],[3]


  Improving the Preparedness Top


All these developments clearly indicate that none of the individual, community, or nation is immune to the novel infection and justifies the need that the COVID-19 pandemic requires a coordinated and accelerated emergency response from all the stakeholders.[2] In fact, it is crucial to acknowledge that if we do not stay focused and aggressive in our preparedness and emergency response, we might face a large-scale community transmission that will easily and rapidly overwhelm the entire health care delivery system.[1],[4] There is a significant need to urgently scale up the measures such as surveillance, case detection, isolation, infection prevention and control, contact tracing, treatment, risk communication, etc.[5] The aim of all these strategies is to ensure that we avert the onset of community transmission, as if it does set in, the entire task of the effective containment of the infection will become extremely challenging and it will definitely jeopardize health care services for other public health priorities.[1],[5],[6]


  Proposed Strategies Top


It is important to understand that in the battle against this pandemic, the government or health sector cannot emerge as a winner unless it is well supported by the active efforts of other stakeholders, be it education, travel, trade, administration, or even the community.[4],[5],[6] The members of the community have the most important role to play and each one of us has to understand that the acquisition of the infection can be prevented provided we practice hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, adhere to infection prevention related simple guidelines, and strictly practice social distancing.[2],[3],[4],[5]

Even though there has been a relaxation of public health and social measures in phase-wise manner, we have to ensure that all the residents and the stakeholders continue to strictly adhere to the behavioral modifications. These behavioral alterations essentially include frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distancing of at least 1 meter, and practicing of infection prevention and control measures. In addition, all unnecessary travel or recreational activities need to be deferred for the time being and we should advocate self-initiated isolation till we receive positive news from the government health authorities. It is the time that all the residents of the nation should support the public health authorities and not spread myths or fear about the disease among the masses through social media.[3],[4],[5],[6]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, in the global battle against COVID-19, the SEAR has to accelerate its preparedness activities and public health emergency response. We can reduce the consequences of the disease only with coordinated, concerted, and sustained efforts and it is the time for each one of us to play our part in the effective containment of the disease.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report − 167; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200705-covid-19-sitrep-167.pdf?sfvrsn=17e7e3df_2. Accessed July 6, 2020.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Lee A. Wuhan novel coronavirus (COVID-19): why global control is challenging? Public Health 2020;179:A1-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Anwar S, Nasrullah M, Hosen MJ. COVID-19 and Bangladesh: challenges and how to address them. Front Public Health 2020;8:154.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. WHO calls for urgent, aggressive actions to combat COVID-19, as cases soar in South-East Asia Region; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/southeastasia/news/detail/17-03-2020-who-calls-for-urgent-aggressive-actions-to-combat-covid-19-as-cases-soar-in-south-east-asia-region. Accessed July 6, 2020.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO press 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona virus disease2019 pandemic: encouraging involvement of community workers in the active search of cases. MAMC J Med Sci 2020;6:39-40.  Back to cited text no. 6
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