In today’s fast-paced world, where the demands of modern life take precedence over physical and mental health needs, it is crucial to emphasise the significance of prioritising a healthy lifestyle.
Tapping into the best practices and key resources that helped India win its war against polio, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday initiated a systematic engagement of WHO’s national polio surveillance network, and other field staff, for COVID-19 response.
“Time and again the Government of India and WHO together have shown our ability, competence and prowess to the whole world. With our combined meticulous work, done with full sincerity and dedication, we were able to get rid of polio. Today I would like to remind you of your potential and ability, and the big things we can do together. All of you in the field – IDSP, state rapid response teams and WHO – are our ‘surveillance corona warriors’. With your joint efforts we can defeat the coronavirus and save lives,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
The Minister, along with Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, was addressing WHO and other field staff, simultaneously connected from over 1000 sites all over the country – from the capital cities to the remotest corners.
“The National Polio Surveillance Project (WHO-NPSP) played a critical role in strengthening surveillance for polio that generated useful, timely and accurate data to guide policies, strategies and interventions until transmission of the poliovirus was interrupted in the country,” Dr Khetrapal Singh said.
Dr Singh, while urging the field staff to support the state and district governments, said, “It is now time to use all your experience, knowledge and skills, with the same rigor and discipline that you showed while monitoring polio activities, to support districts with surveillance, contact tracing and containment activities.”
In the fight against the COVID-19, we have entered a stage where surveillance is going to play a vital role in making future strategies for containment, she said.