As India begins to unlock, after three months of the world’s strictest lockdown, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in many parts of the country. This has put into question the effectiveness of the lockdown and our ability to flatten the curve. This presents us with important challenges for our public systems, especially the healthcare system, as it now rushes to cope with increased mobility and economic activity, and at the same time, deal with the surge in COVID-19 patients. How should India’s public health system respond as we unlock, and cases increase? What impact has the virus had on other public systems, like education? And what are the big questions we need to think about in the policy sphere as we learn to live with the virus?
In this episode, Yamini Aiyar, President & Chief Executive of CPR, speaks with Dr Jishnu Das, Senior Visiting Fellow at CPR and professor at Georgetown University. Das talks about the challenges India’s public health system is likely to face going forward and how to build India’s public infrastructure in a world beyond COVID-19. He calls for building trust, flexibility, and agility in the public healthcare system in order to manage surges. In addition, he stresses on the losses that students are likely to face as a result of schools closing, and a need to rethink how students are taught once schools reopen.
For more information on the centre’s work, follow CPR on Twitter @CPR_India or visit www.cprindia.org. This episode draws on findings of the paper, ‘Two Indias: The structure of primary health care markets in rural Indian villages with implications for policy’ authored by Jishnu Das, along with Benjamin Daniels, Monisha Ashok, Eun-Young Shim and Karthik Muralidharan. The paper provides a first-of-its-kind nationwide picture of rural healthcare and can be accessed here.