The Hon’ble Chief Minister
Chief Minister’s Office, Kohima, Nagaland, India.
(via email email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org)
CC: Chief Secretary, Govt. of Nagaland
CC: Secretary, Department of Information & Public Relations
Subject: Appeal for native language community awareness campaign in audio format re Covid-19
Dear Hon’ble Chief Minister,
I am Rachunliu G. Kamei, PhD (see end of message for professional background).
I am a Naga, currently a UK resident. I am carefully following the government’s progress and actions against Covid-19 in Nagaland based on the government online resources.
I appreciate the good work that the Government of Nagaland is doing to prepare for the pandemic.
As you are aware, mass communication is a critical weapon against Covid-19, and hence this appeal.
I have grave personal concerns for the people in Nagaland because the public awareness information available on government websites (cited at the end) are in a language not understood by a majority of Nagaland’s population. Furthermore, a large portion of the most vulnerable people (in rural areas) will have no/very limited access to online resources. Rural areas have the largest (Census 2011) proportion of the high-risk age demographic (elderly) for Covid-19. The rural elderly also have the highest levels of illiteracy, and can therefore potentially and unintentionally be denied the basic access to vital information.
I wish to make the following suggestions to rectify this problem:
1. Produce a scripted audio communication translated into all major and minor languages and dialects in the State. These official audio files with original script (so that any critical information is not lost in translation) can be downloaded from an official website and can be distributed on social media to reach the widest possible audience. The translated script will include all the vital and approved information for the general public on how to protect themselves, and those around them, from catching and spreading Covid-19.
This will eliminate erroneous information being circulated by well-meaning public members that
incorrectly translate information from government sources.
For the translations, I suggest that the State government recruit volunteers (from each language/dialect group) through an Official Call for volunteers that have demonstrable proficiency in English.
2. Launch a new official website dedicated to Covid-19 aimed only at providing basic, vital information for the general public of Nagaland on how to stay safe from Coronavirus; information on Covid-19 symptoms; vital educational/awareness, e.g., that not everyone who catches the virus dies, that there is no medical cure, etc.
The State government mandated websites (Department of Health and Family Welfare, Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority) are far too cluttered with non-essential information for the general public to navigate efficiently.
3. It should be noted that there are critical errors in the basic safety/preventative instructions provided on the State-government mandated department links (cited below): for e.g., one-meter distancing, washing hands when visibly soiled, “see” a doctor if you feel unwell (https://nagahealth.nagaland.gov.in/wpcontent/
Public awareness recommendations in other countries (e.g., CDC USA; HSE Ireland; NHS UK) that have, for several weeks, been fighting against Covid-19 are advising distance of at least two meters, washing hands regularly (whether visibly soiled is completely irrelevant), and to contact local doctor/helpline by telephone (not in person) if unwell to reduce the spread to local doctors and high-risk patients seeking medical help for non-Covid-19 related health issues.
When the State Government—the trusted source—provides access to vital correct information it will reduce the social-media problem caused by spreading false information, and help to redirect the vital resources otherwise spent on policing such (cyber and other) crimes.
I am willing to volunteer and assist in the production of the script based on the internationally accepted and published guidelines.
Please contact me if you wish to avail of my service or to engage in further dialogue on the points presented this letter.
Rachunliu G. Kamei, PhD
WhatsApp no (UK) +44 7568931749
16 Killakee View, Firhouse Road
Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland.
My professional background: Herpetologist; former European Commission-funded Marie Curie
Postdoctoral Fellow at The Natural History Museum, London (2014–16), UK; former Assistant Professor, St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (2005–10, 2013); PhD (completed 2014) from University of Delhi,
Websites cited in my letter:
Department of Health and Family Welfare: https://nagahealth.nagaland.gov.in/
Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority: https://nsdma.nagaland.gov.in/covid19
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