Wednesday, 29 September, 2021

Initiatives involving people a key to success in fighting corona

Citizen’s Platform suggests

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 2 August, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Bangladesh is in crying need of initiatives involving people and civil society organisations at present to effectively control the raging corona infection in the country, Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh said on Sunday.

But still now, the Bangladesh lacked any kind of policy framework to this end and the corona related issues are addressed administratively, it also observed.

“At this moment, there is no alternative to people involved initiatives to fight the corona pandemic, but no necessary policy framework has come from the state yet for this,” commented Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of the platform at a webinar.

Dr Debapriya and other discussants alleged that the government’s corona related activities are being done haphazardly and there is no directives specifying role of different individuals or agencies.

Dr Debapriya questioned that whether there is any political reservation or reservation among the administration in engaging civil society organizations or private initiatives in government initiative in fighting the crisis.

A policy framework for a national initiative is very crucial at the moment for uniting the whole nation in a plant at this crisis moment, the noted economist insisted.

Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha alleged that now the state lacks the policy of involving people in its initiatives, citing that corona problem is addressed administratively only through centralized decision making process.

If social initiatives are not taken now apart from government initiatives, Bangladesh may suffer for the pandemic in the long run, he also observed.

He said social initiatives are vital for motivating rural people about the deadly disease.  

Dr Moshtaque Raza Chowdhury, coordinator of Health Watch who presided over the event, said the government should immediately scale up the scattered initiatives undertaken by CBOs, NGOs or at individual level. 

Even though Bangladesh lack any state level policy for involving people in fighting Covid crisis, many countries in the world have already institutionalized the model, which Dr Raza said, can also ensure accountability of the government initiatives. 

He put emphasis on the issue of coordination among public and private initiatives for sustainably addressing the corona problem in the country.

Seasoned economist Prof Rehman Sobhan insisted that the state and the civil society should not be competitors; rather they should be the partners.

In particular, he suggested the civil society organizations to take an upazila as a reference point and and identify its problems and solutions on experimental basis.

Badiul Alam Majumder, country director and global vice-president of The Hunger Project, called for creating castle in every household like the time of the Liberation War to fight corona crisis.

For this, he suggested that the Prime Minister can be the appropriate person the make a call for addressing the corona issue with united efforts at this very crisis moment.

Health expert Dr Lenin Chowdhury also sees lack of coordination in different steps of the government in fighting the corona crisis.

While taking steps to address the crisis or rolling out programmes, equity should be established so that people in lower tiers won’t suffer the most. With putting in place lockdowns and sudden withdrawal for some industries, lives of RMG workers have been put at risk, he alleged.

Professor Rounaq Jahan emphasised on lack of coordination at the local level. She called for increased awareness and recommended collective and coordinated efforts of public and private sectors.

Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, Aspire to Innovate (A2I) Programme, thinks that increasing awareness to tackle COVID 19 is not enough. He stated the importance of proper use and distribution of masks. He highlighted that voluntary initiatives at the local level are required and proper data should be there to effectively implement these activities.