Recently, Dr Subodh Varshney, MD of Siddhanta Red Cross Hospital in Bhopal, gave NewsX exclusive insight into how the medical fraternity fought against COVID-19 and the challenges it brought. He highlighted the issues faced by the healthcare community during the lockdown and the key takeaways for future disasters.

Dr Varshney pointed out the issue of lack of public transportation, closure of shops, and its effect on the staff’s mental well-being during the lockdown threatened the continuation of services. His team immediately understood the necessity of boosting the morale of the staff and so they ensured that sanitation and hygiene were maintained, all responders were provided entire PPE kits, no salary was deducted from the staff, and all the patients and staff were constantly screened for COVID-19.

Moreover, transportation for the staff and the onus of organising emergency passes was also undertaken by the hospital itself. “We did not shut down any service, on any day during the entire lockdown”, he said victoriously.

He also brought to the forefront the issue of the hospitals in the country not being adequately equipped to deal with massive disasters and epidemics. He emphasised the need for regularly organized stock-taking of emergency equipment and self-sufficiency. The dependent nature of manufacturing units, especially for active pharmaceutical ingredients, PPE kits, N-95 masks, ventilators, etc.

He believes in the power of Digital India and mentions the importance of Telemedicine, Tele-Consulting, video-conferencing and E-education in the tangible future. He hopes for a self-sufficient India and is a proponent of Make In India. He believes in providing investors with incentives to boost production and manufacturing in the country.

He envisions Ayushman and other forms of affordable medical insurance as the foundation of a healthy India and deterrent to lack of proper healthcare facilities. He advises investing in agro-based ventures, pharmaceuticals, insurances, and presents his vision of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.