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Complacency and confusion

by IT Web Admin
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The unfolding situation in Manipur due to the swine flu infection is the most serious concern occupying the minds of the public, and understandably so. But more than the disease itself, what needs to be addressed is the uncertainty and confusion that has befuddled the public, causing undue inconvenience to one and all. The unfortunate report of the events following the death of the first confirmed patient of the flu in the state tells a very sorry picture of lack of information and understanding of the dreaded infection- reports about how even the near and dear ones were unwilling to be in the vicinity of the victim, reports of how the last rites were denied by the locality and unwilling to take part in it. The unfortunate incident arose not so much out of disrespect as it is out of ignorance of the facts about the matter which creates speculation and confusion which in turn fuels rumors and half-baked information. There still is a rush to buy surgical masks and alternative medicines at exorbitant prices which also brings out a breed of opportunistic businessmen taking advantage of the situation. Despite declarations by various authorities on the irrelevancy of the panic buying as the masks are needed more by the infected persons, the rush still continues. The Government and its departments have unfortunately failed to take a proper stock of the situation, and have still to grapple with the ways and means of allaying the fear of the people in the state. And while a number of private hospitals have reportedly taken up every necessary measure to contain and combat the infection, there are still reports of the lack of basic requirements in the state run hospitals thereby creating mistrust and avoiding their service even if it means shelling out a lot more for treatment in such private hospitals. This apparent lack of a sense of urgency on the part of the government to upgrade, update and equip hospitals with the necessary infrastructure to combat the infection, and the reluctance in disseminating information regarding the dos and don’ts through various medium has the signs of the much followed practice of waiting for assistance and largesse from the centre. Spreading awareness and the procedures to be followed in case of suspected cases of infection along with the necessary precautions the public can take up will go a long way in enabling to curtail and contain the dreaded infection. There should also be a testing centre in the state which will not only speed up treatment but also convey a sense of security and safety to the panicked public. Clearing misconceptions will help make things easier for the government, and instead of downplaying the danger, information as to the steps taken up for the people needs to be relayed.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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