Pandemic and governance in Bangladesh: Reality and proposition
Covid-19 has become the most serious concern of attention across the globe due to its negative impact on human health and nature for being a highly infectious disease. It has frequently been argued that this virus infected into human body from the Wuhan, China (the capital city of the largest province) of the country in November 2019.World Health Organization (WHO) named it Covid-19 on 11th February 2020 and declared it pandemic on 11thMarch respectively.
Covid-19 is relatively different than other viruses and has a greater power to infect very rapidly from person to person. The spread of this virus has been wide from country to country because of visit of expatriates and foreigner for different purposes. As a matter of fact, being a densely populated country, Bangladesh has a high risk of transmission of this fatal infectious disease from person to person. As of March, many people got infected with Covid-19 in the country.The situation is worsening day by day as returnees from abroad is showing carelessness over following self-quarantine rules. For a country like Bangladesh, the outbreak of Covid-19 could bring an unimaginable and damaging situation in all aspects which already has already shown a questionable management of Dengue outbreak in last the year.
So a very pertinent question has arisen from governance perspective and that is what measures should be taken at an early date to save the country from massive destruction.The very first one is to take all out efforts to trace and quarantine all the people who have already come and will come in contract with coronavirus patients. Contact tracing is another crucial issue which helps in earlier detection of the patient and vulnerable group and it also plays an important role in slowing spread as well as provides authorities time to take adequate preparation upon which Director General of WHO gives utmost importance.
The returnees who have entered in the country need to be taken under strong surveillance and punishment in case of disobeying quarantine under the infectious disease (Prevention, control and elimination Act, 2018). Arrival in Bangladesh should be restricted, but if it becomes emergency to enter in Bangladesh must be made under medical supervision which means there should have thermal scanners at all airports, seaports and land ports of the country. Adequate security measures for doctors, nurses, health workers must be ensured immediately as they put their life at risk means they should have compensated with extra benefits. A comprehensive and wholesome training arrangement should be provided to them with the shortest possible of time. As such, testing kits and other necessary details must be provided to all divisional and district hospitals which will play a decentralized role in taking the crisis in a large scale as it is very time consuming to collect specimen from remote areas for testing.
A national taskforce for prevention of catastrophe headed by the Honorable Prime Minister along with politicians, renowned physicians, owner of private hospitals and eminent businessman should be formed to take effective measures. Proper enforcement for detection of the disease is of paramount importance as WHO puts special importance to this critical point.
In this crucial moment our government should engage armed forces in ensuring quarantine and other health safety measures. There is no alternative to massive awareness building among citizens because only awareness can help us a lot to tackle this serious crisis. Red Crescent Society, rover scouts, and voluntary workers can be used in this regard. Mosque and other religious institutions can also play crucial role to make people aware of the imminent danger. Closing educational institutions is a notable and praiseworthy decision at this moment. Revised working hours, procedures and safety measures for other government, autonomous, semi-autonomous and private officers should be effectuated.
As most of the people are illiterate and unaware, educated citizen should come forward to inform to servants, guards, rickshaw puller, day laborers, street vendors, and mass people about the obligations of this crisis period. Involvement of Local government institutions for handling this crisis in awareness building and medication could be fruitful step in this regard/situation. An awareness building committee headed by the concerned local government institutions in every area with the participation of community people could be formed for conveying up to date message and information.
Declaring emergency and lock down the whole country could be an efficient decision in stirring the crisis because these will give greater scope to the authority about taking preparation of coming out of this crisis.
According to International Labor Organization (ILO) Coronavirus will cause the loss of 25 million jobs around the world. Blumberg opined that World economy is going to face loss of 2.7 trillion $ as a negative consequences of this disease. World Bank made alert that developing country will face difficulties in repaying loan. IMF has declared 1200 cores $ cooperation fund.
Our government should take necessary steps to be prepared for economic decision and managing fund from world community. Our Garments play a very gigantic role in accelerating the GDP of our economy. Hence, special measures to provide safety to garments and other industries workers should be given top most priority. Special allocation of fund for health sectors and poor people are also a crying need because informal sectors may faces serious crisis for it. Drastic monitoring and supervision of market to tackle price hike and facilitate normal supply of necessary product deserve special attention in this regard. Special written and details pictures as well as plan of Covid-19and future virus prevention plan should be disclose in the upcoming parliament session. Special bulletin and short drama should be aired on television and radioas well as special message on the issue needs to be delivered in cell phone for making mass people up to date and more conscious. We all love our motherland but at the same time we also know about our limitations of healthcare and other infrastructural facilities. It is predicted by the specialist that, any gap in preventive measures could cause a sudden outburst of Covid-19 in the country and thereby impact around 1.7 million people which will ultimately bring a massive destruction to our beloved country. As china has already put an example of controlling this epidemic disease Insha Allah with the active support of people from all walks of life along with print and electronic media, our homeland will be able to get rid of this most serious danger of the 21st century.
The writer is an Assistant Professor and Head, Department of Public Administration and Governance Studies, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh