Our battle

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In any crisis it is not just the governments that come into action but non-governmental organizations compliment the overall efforts of the governments. It is no more an unorganized sector, managed by people according to their whims. There are, in fact, standard procedures and established practices that are followed by these groups and organizations. One of the essential principles that have been publicized world over for these NGOs is to follow the ‘Do Not Harm’ approach. It means that while these organizations want to compliment the governmental efforts to mitigate any crisis, they shouldn’t resort to practices that can compound problems. Also they shouldn’t act in ways that open up new problems, or complicate already present problems. It means before these organizations swing into action they should study the problem well, and know where exactly, in what conditions, they are performing their task. For us, in the kind of times we are passing through, the role of charitable trusts, and other humanitarian organizations, becomes very crucial. It is a known fact that our government cannot claim of having all the resources – human and material – that can face the current crisis. It will need a complimentary act from various civil society formations. But these organizations must synchronize their efforts with that of the government, so that no chaotic condition develops. Since the present crisis is extraordinary it is bound to bring mental and physical pressures on all the individuals who are right now involved in official or voluntary work. In such circumstances it is likely that it can disturb the harmony between the two, thus giving rise to another set of problems. To avoid this harm, the concerned officials and the heads of various voluntary organizations should try to understand each others’ problems and work out strategies accordingly. Those who are working in the interest of people, out of their own volition, are doing a commendable job, but they need to follow standard procedures to be more effective. It is now apparent that we are nowhere near the end of this long battle. And there is no option than to fight the battle, and win it. But to emerge victorious needs not just endurance, and patience, but a methodical approach. The good thing with method is that it doesn’t wear the effort down, and it always encourages to think afresh, devise anew and apply things with a renewed vigour. So in this battle, that is being fought at many levels – individual, family, neighbourhood, and administration – each tier has to draw a plan and follow it in letter and spirit. At an individual level we need to keep nerve, exhibit patience, and observe the guidelines issued by the relevant authorities. At the level of family we need to be each other’s support and disallow any negative thoughts creeping into familial spaces. At the neighbourhood level we must ensure that social distancing is observed strictly, and no lax behaviour is exhibited on that count. If anyone lowers guard, thinking that it is not that important, he needs to be reminded of the importance of this measure. The most important tier is that of administration. We cannot ignore the efforts of the officers, and other staff at this juncture, who are out in the open managing this crisis. We need to acknowledge their efforts. But they in turn need to take it as their professional and ethical duty to follow the discipline of detail. Any small error on their part can have disastrous impact on the whole scheme. But the most important column in the battleground is the medical staff – doctors and paramedics. It is the duty of the administration to provide all the paraphernalia that is required. Around the globe we have seen how doctors have suffered in this crisis. It is time that the administration takes care of the frontline soldiers and make sure that they are not short of anything that is needed by them. If some civil society formations can also help our healthcare system this time, that would be a shot in the arm. But primarily it is for the administration to mobilize resources for our doctors and paramedics.