Covid-19: India should set up Medical Commission on the lines of the EC, says senior molecular immunologist

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 07, 2020

Satish Ranjan PhD, molecular immunologist

According to immunologist Dr Satish Ranjan, such a body would serve as second line of defence in times of pandemics

India needs to establish a Medical Commission on the lines of the Election Commission to build a second line of defence to assist healthcare professionals (first line of defence) during pandemics like Covid-19. This second line of defence could comprise life science researchers, PhD scholars, post-doctoral scientists and lab technicians.

For this, the Commission should have administrative control over all life science research institutions and veterinary colleges, says Satish Ranjan PhD, molecular immunologist and formerly senior scientist with the Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Medical Faculty, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany.

Second line of defence

A second line of defence needs to be readied since an overwhelming number of Covid-19 cases has led to a shortage of healthcare professionals, and the collapse of medical infrastructure as witnessed in advanced economies. The Commission can also help integrate life science research with clinical practices during peace time, Ranjan wrote in an e-mail to BusinessLine.

The Commission should ideally be manned by scientists, public health experts and it should aim to (i) devise a public health policy for the country; (ii) act as central control and command organisation in times of pandemic/biological disasters (iii) carry out comprehensive research to predict and devise strategies and to build adequate healthcare capabilities, and (iv) suggest reforms in all concerned institutions to enable them to efficiently meet their objectives during such exigencies.

Working in coherence

Information flow from top to bottom in the Commission should be uniform and quick, leading to prompt action to contain the situation arising out of the pandemic. The Commission should also be mandated to work in sync with disaster management authorities including NDMA and SDMA, to ensure effective relief and rescue measures in the affected areas.

A commission made up of scientists and healthcare professionals, would ensure better management and preparedness during a crisis, notes Satish Ranjan. It will also ensure better scientific understanding of such problems, leading to minimal error of judgement in taking both preventive as well as control measures.

Ensuring a unified command

All institutions such as the NCDC, ICMR, and public health departments and medical colleges and hospitals may work independently and autonomously, but in times of biological crises or disasters, should work under the unified command of the Medical Commission of India. This will avoid overlapping of guidelines issued separately to manage and control them economically, effectively and efficiently.

As a nodal organisation, the Commission would coordinate with central and state government agencies for effective implementation of required measures, to ensure maximum public safety and satisfaction, says Satish Ranjan. This will ensure both central and state government agencies function more efficiently without any disruption in their assigned duties and responsibilities.

Published on June 07, 2020

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