Jury On Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic And The Road Ahead

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HealthCare Heroes Awards 2022: Jury On Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic And The Road Ahead

After a successful HealthCare Heroes Awards 2020, OnlyMyHealth.com brought the 2nd edition of awards which honored the champions who selflessly and with an altruistic spirit worked towards making India strong again. It was our endeavor to salute these heroes who took on the challenge to help the community in areas of mental health, nutrition, healthcare, awareness and more. In this no-contact, all virtual event, we celebrate and showcase the hard work and service of the many silent but resilient corona-warriors.

HealthCare Heroes Awards 2022 had an esteemed panel of Jury, composed of accomplished personalities. The Jury shared their thoughts on the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced and the fight that is still on our hands. While appreciating the herculean work done by the nominees the Jury acknowledged the difficult and emotional task of nominating any one nominee for award.

Challenges Faced

Dr Jaideep Malhotra, Obs & Gynae spoke about the challenges faced by women during the pandemic. Women bore the brunt of the pandemic and faced great difficulties at home, during pregnancy, with no access to doctors and poor nutrition. Women were also the ones who took care of the elders and children at home.

Poonam Muttreja Executive Director, Population Foundation of India, brought to light the large percentage of women who were already facing adversity pre-pandemic starting with overburden of house work, domestic violence, school dropouts, forced into early marriage, poor menstrual hygiene and no access to abortion. Their situation was exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Nimesh Desai, talked about the mental health fallout due to the pandemic. Answering a question on the long term impact of the pandemic on mental health with uncertainty, anxiety, alienation, depression etc. Dr Desai said the psychiatric epidemic has been looming large for some time. Mental health of society needs to be looked at with a broader mental health lens with wellbeing and social dimensions thrown in and not the narrow lens of psychiatry.

Road Ahead

Eshanka Wahi , Culinary Nutrition & Holistic Wellness Coach stressed that there is no magic pill to become fitter. Rather it is a combination of gut health, eating clean, exercise, reducing stress level, sleep and sunlight. Though 70% of  immunity is due to gut health one needs to upgrade his/her lifestyle to see benefits.

Talking about energy, Grand Master Akshar, Yoga Expert & Spiritual Guru said “everything is made up of energy”. He said the frontline warriors gave us hope and renewed energy and people got a reason to think there’s something good for them. Spirituality does the same, it makes you think positively about yourself. The one to two hours in a day when you do Yoga, you are engaged with your body and mind, spend quality time and feel good. 

Spirituality gives power and a resilient spirit, which gives hope. We will not give up even if  a more powerful pandemic hits us. Till we have our breadth we will fight, Grand Master Akshar added. 

We asked Dr Chandrakant Lahariaya, Physician-Epidemiologist & COVID-19 Vaccines Expert, about the efficacy of vaccines and boosters. Speaking on coronavirus Dr Lahariaya said it is respiratory and it keeps mutating. There is a limited possibility of future variants which would have different characteristics. The past natural infection and/or vaccination and boosters will continue to provide protection, so we should take heart from it, the doctor said. Dr Lahariaya thinks that the  pandemic will be over but the virus will stay with us with relatively low levels of transmission. 

According to Dr Vivek Nangia, Principal Director & Head, Pulmonology, Max Hospitals, Saket, the most essential part of living with covid amongst vaccines, testing of asymptomatic cases, mask and covid appropriate behavior is a combination of all of these. Vaccine is not a 100% protection mechanism and has its limitations. We don’t know if the existing vaccine will be effective against a new variant. Therefore COVID-19 appropriate behavior should continue with vaccination. Dr Nangia also thought that we are probably heading to a scenario where there will be a new vaccine available every year like influenza. 

Closing Messages

Dr Malhotra cleared misinformation about vaccines affecting fertility. While Mrs Muttreja expressed satisfaction that not too many anti-vaccine fundamentalist are there in India.  

Grand Master Akshar pointed out that people have evolved with the help of yoga. Teachers too evolved with deep inquiry during the pandemic. He suggested simple asanas like Vajra asana which increases blood circulation, Dand asana which helps with awareness of breath, Vriksh asana for good posture can be part of online yoga practice, along with breathing techniques.

Talking about nutrition for post-COVID-19 recovery, Ms. Wahi stressed on removing refined sugar, processed food, alcohol, refined oils and food with no tongue twisters ingredients from the diet. 

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