Concerted efforts key to preventing 2nd wave: speakers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 25, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:07 AM, October 25, 2020

Covid-19 Outbreak

Concerted efforts key to preventing 2nd wave: speakers

As many countries in the world have already been hit by the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak, experts said maintaining health rules is the only key where there is no alternative to community engagement to make sure everybody maintains it.

In this case, non-government organisations, community leaders, and youths need to lend their hands to government initiatives to make it effective, they told a webinar yesterday organised by the international volunteer organisation "The Hunger Project".

Conducted by country director of the organisation Badiul Alam Majumdar, experts from different sectors and social workers joined the discussion.

At the beginning of the discussion, Jamirul Islam, deputy director of the organisation, presented a keynote where he showed how their organisation succeeded in making 1,500 villages in 21 districts Covid-19 resilient, by ensuring people maintained health rules.

Under the programme, a total of 43,821 volunteers were mobilised, and religious and community leaders engaged to debunk rumours and misinformation 4,804 times.

As a result, fewer infected patients and deaths were recorded in these villages compared to other non-intervened areas.

As the community, local elected bodies and the government worked together under the programme, no complaint was raised about the distribution of government supports or safety nets, Jamirul Islam said.

During the discussion, speakers said such an initiative implemented by The Hunger Project can be a role model for the entire country.

They also highlighted the government's successes and failures in tackling the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking as chief guest, minister for the local government Tazul Islam claimed that less than 0.5 percent the of 62,500-odd representatives of local governments (union parishads, municipalities, and city corporations) were found to be involved in scams during aid distributions.

"Whatever criticism about the representatives is, we [government] have to implement programmes by them… We had no lack of sincerity. It is true there were many mistakes, but we have become successful in the long run," minister Tajul Islam said.

He said the government is observing everything with utmost caution. "Whatever will be needed and whenever, the government will do that," he added.

Speaking in the programme, Prof Nazrul Islam, member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 said, "We do not know how the virus will behave during the winter in our country. So we have to stay alert."

Dr Lenin Chowdhurysaid, "We have noticed the government has implemented bureaucratic decisions bypassing scientific decisions to control the first wave of coronavirus."

Pointing to this issue, the LGD minister said that the government mainly depended on the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) to take decisions.

Prof Muzaherul Huq, former regional advisor of the World Health Organization (WHO) said, "The WHO always said two issues: awareness and community engagement. There were programmes for awareness, but the issue of community engagement did not happen."

To control the second wave, the government has to be strict to implement law to implement the health rules.

Regarding the uncertainty about the vaccine trial in the country, he said, "The government delayed in making a decision… They have to make the right decision at the right time."

Criticising the government's mistakes, Abdul Latif Mandalsaid, "Government officials always give examples of Europe and America. They, however, never speak about the success of Nepal, Thailand and others who have successfully controlled the outbreak."

Speakers stressed on the multi-sectoral efforts to face the coronavirus outbreak.

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