Published Date: Mar 2, 2021
SDPI Press Release “Life After COVID-19: Are we ready to opt for a new normal”
webinar on “Life after COVID-19: Are we ready to opt for a new normal” as a part of SDPI’s campaign “No one is safe until everyone is safe” on Monday, March 1, 2021, 03:00pm-04:00pm PKT
Press Release Notes:
Dr. Nousheen Hamid; Member National Assembly, Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of National Health said that this webinar is the need of hour to talk about the new normal and educate our communities about it. She added that if we are able to vaccinate 70 million people, by prioritizing the health practitioners, and the 60 plus of population we would be able to create herd immunity, stop the spread of the pandemic. She said that the people’s response towards registration for the vaccination is not encouraging. However, with more confidence and trust we can overcome that dubious behavior towards the vaccines. She added that the govt has started an awareness campaign by vaccinating the high profiles Infront of media to educate people about the vaccines and to agree them to adopt the new normal. She also said that the private sector imports of vaccines for the well-off or those who are in a hurry would lessen burden on the govt. She informed the panel that the government is committed to vaccinate everyone by the end of this year. She added that due ato the general illiteracy especially in the rural areas we face resistance in educating people regarding the vaccination drive. She said that a change in lifestyle can make us able to start living with the virus and the new normal. She suggested that as pandemics will visit us again so the only solution to cope with such situations is to upgrade our health infrastructure and equip it more scientific tools.
Mr. Hamza Shafqaat; Deputy Commissioner Islamabad that it is unfortunate that the new normal is being considered as abnormal by large section of the society. He added that even after the March 15, 2021 the SOPs will remain intact. He was of the view that the most sever resistance that we saw during the times of the lockdown and even now in the new normal, is from traders and business community. He appreciated the excessive use of technology, social media, and digital equipment in the administration in the times of the pandemic. “The biggest challenge in the new normal will be the ‘change in mindset’ of the public” he said. He stressed on a collective action to educate our people for the new-normal through public campaigns. He was of the view that we need to educate the people about the physical distancing instead social distancing. He admired the suggestion that there should be some sort of communication among all the DCs of all the major districts of the country, to share experiences and make a collective front against the pandemic. Regarding the myths and fears related to vaccines, he said that the need a right narrative by bringing a behavioral change which is only possible with awareness campaign including Ulema and media influencers. Answering a question regarding public gatherings he said that the large marquee should install huge exhaust fans to make the space further open and create open air for arranging indoor wedding gatherings.
Mr. Mosharraf Zaidi; Journalist, Development Practitioner said that the govt needs to priorities the least privileged and the health practitioners is administration the vaccines. He praised the govt response to the Covid-19 pandemic However, he said, that the implementation of the policies and principles around the vaccination drive are more convoluted. He was of the view that the times of Covid-19 was an opportunity to fully bring in practice the federation at all fronts, like the NCOC, which is a great success. He also said the administrative machinery in all the districts and at the local front needs to be much more proactive. He was of the view that local govt would have been a great tool for the administration of the SOPs and the vaccination drive, had it been in place. He also highlighted the role of media and elected leaders for an excellent execution of the of the vaccination drive and awareness campaign. He stressed that for all this to happen we need a broader level of consensus among all the stake holders for a more comprehensive plan of action. He added that the anti-vaccine sentiments are not only limited to Pakistan but even the advance countries facing this dilemma; but the under capacity of the administration to cope up with the challenges of vaccine administration drive, are limited to Pakistan. He also said that we all as people of Pakistan need to address the issue of equality in the vaccines and maximize our govt capacity by discourage the excessive privatization of the health care system and the related things.
Dr. Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI who also moderated the session said that fortunately Pakistan performance in the times of Covid-19 was better than many countries the region especially in providing social protection gears for the less privileged strata of society; however, The New- Normal post on us new challenges which require a collective effort from the all the stakeholders to not only immunize the population against the virus but also to adapt better with the new normal. s