New Delhi: AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria has been at the frontline since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. He has not only handled COVID-19 cases in the national capital Delhi but has also provided guidance to other states like Gujarat struggling to win the battle against COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Guleria joined the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India 12-hour SwasthyaMantra telethon with Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan and talked about the ways to fight COIVD-19 and a nation’s reliance on Coronavirus vaccine.
In conversation with Mr Bachchan, Dr Guleria mentioned about the role of COVID warriors and shared three ways to protect one from the Coronavirus pandemic. He said,
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, I want to salute all the COVID warriors who have lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19. We have lost over 500 of them. The Banega Swasth India programme highlights the fact that Swachh (cleanliness) and Swasth (health) are interlinked. If you are hygienic, you will also be healthy. So what if don’t have a vaccine? We have a vaccine which is called non-pharmacological measures and they are three broad pillars – physical distancing, wearing a face mask when in public place and hand washing. If we have these three pillars with us, we can win this battle against COVID.
Dr Guleria informed that countries like Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea that have adopted the three pillars have managed to defeat COVID-19. He added,
There are countries with huge economies and health expenditures like the United States struggling with COVID-19. If all of us get over our COVID fatigue, reenergise ourselves, and incorporate these three pillars, we will be able to win this battle. This will be won by the pubic and not by doctors or in hospitals. Together, if we strengthen these pillars then we will not need a vaccine.
Mr Bachchan resonated with Dr Guleria and gave an example of HIV. The nation doesn’t have a vaccine against HIV but still overcame it. Similarly, we will have to fight COVID-19. Dr Guleria said, vaccine against COVID-19 is no magic bullet that will stop the pandemic right away and added,
People are saying that vaccine will come but how protective will be the vaccine? Will we have to revaccinate ourselves? How will we vaccinate every citizen of our population? It will be a herculean task. This virus is a clever virus, it will change itself, it will mutate itself. Efficacy of the vaccine will not be there. Therefore, these three pillars become more and more important. A vaccine will help but it is not a magic bullet. We ourselves have to become part of this fight against COVID-19. If we maintain cleanliness, we will be able to lead a healthy life and win against COVID.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.