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Coronavirus in Australia.
WHO and Australian government emergency response.
Community engagement and mobilization strategy for an emergency response.
Coronaviruses are encapsulated RNA viruses which belongs to the Coronaviridae family and the order of Nidovirales. Coronaviruses are further categorised into 4 genera: α, β, δ and γ. From these, β and α coronavirus are the ones who transmit the disease to mammals. And γ and δ coronavirus pass on the disease to few mammals and most birds. The main reason for the transmission of the disease is infected, coronavirus patients. However, the asymptomatic ones also play important role in transmission. Droplets from the mouth and one to one contact are the major routes of transmission. Individuals belonging to every age group are susceptible to the infection. Elder people and those having chronic diseases can easily become serious cases if infected by a coronavirus. The symptoms shown by infected people are fever, cough and diarrhoea. However, data has shown that serious cases in adults may also develop dyspnea (Shen et al., 2020). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been a total number of 22,492,312 cases of coronavirus and the number of death reported are 788,503 (World Health Organization, 2020).
In Australia, the number of coronavirus cases is 24, 407 and the recovered cases are 18,455. Total of 472 people have lost their lives and there are about 4,679 active cases. The numbers are increasing day by day. In only Victoria (VIC), the confirmed cases have been 17,852. Most number of new cases is reported from here only. 385 people have already died here. 40 people are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In this state, individuals from 25-29 age groups are largely affected (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2020).
WHO monitors the worldwide happenings which could impact the health of the public and decide whether a response is required. Then, verification of the event and risk associated with it is estimated. WHO also records the events systematically. They divide these dealings under various grades. WHO in case of an emergency within 12 hours creates a focal point and distributes information with appropriate staff members in the whole organization. In 48 hours, they try to contact the local authorities of that place. They negotiate with the government for clearance so that analysis can be done. After this, they make the first report and brief media with the situation. In 5 days, they make a short- term plan and collaborate with the Health Ministry to take control and preventive interventions. Plus, WHO appeals for the funding if necessary. They also give technical assistance and try to strengthen the surveillance of the affected area. In addition to all of this, they encourage and monitor the protocols, methodologies, practices, health standards and tool. Within 2 months, they perform in-depth assessment which is health- specific (World Health Organization, 2013).
Community engagement is a process which includes the relationship building that will help people of organization and community to work with each other to combat issues related to health and which will endorse the well- being to attain good impact on health. It will help to maximise community preparedness and will inhibit transmission of COVID- 19. By doing this, the burden on the health sector can be reduced. WHO’s the target audience in the community engagement and mobilization strategy are national health authorities, community leaders, influencers, agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). WHO stated that there is a need to strengthen partnerships that already exist. They try to focus on the fact that new partnerships should also be formed to involve the large community. They also mentioned to give power to the governance structure of the community and to optimize the position of health workers who engage with the community (World Health Organization, 2020).
WHO has talked about various things for the community like identification and maintaining the networks within the community, ensuring that there is two-way communication, making connections with main partners, engaging communities with the help of already present mechanisms, giving training to members of the communities and the local authorities so that it can be made sure that only correct information is being shared. WHO also told to focus on building capacity and engaging the health workers of the community in surveillance and collection of data (World Health Organization, 2020).
The Australian government have also stated some points in case of emergency. Those are: To make an effective framework which will be requiring coordination with the government of every level and also with the stakeholders who are non- governmental. The government also mentioned the involvement of the local government to encourage resilience towards emergencies. They also focus on territory and state government so that risk assessment can be done and monitoring of the situation can also be undertaken. They also stated that communities should be involved so awareness about the risk can be spread and also the collective measures could be prepared to minimize the vulnerability (Australian Government, 2019).
Community engagement means to involve people from various communities and levels so that informed decision making can be done and the important information reaches all the individuals. For the management of coronavirus outbreak, the government have to work together with the health sector and community. The priority should be given to the communication so that the people are provided with correct and relevant information. There should be the implementation of the control measures so that the exposure risk to coronavirus can be deducted. It will also help the public with keeping accurate information and data so that management of the disease can be done (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2020).
Consultation means taking advice from experts. In this case, paying attention to the recommendations provided by health care workers and doctors to make an informed decision is necessary. Feedback from organizations like primary care centres, nursing organization and medical colleges should be regarded which will inform about the experience from the grassroots level (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2020).
Participation is the act of involvement. Government collaborating with a public, industry group, and businesses is necessary to control the coronavirus outbreak. This will help people to understand the risk and they will manage the exposure to the disease. There is also a need to build strong connections with media so that more and more people can be involved (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2020).
Organization means to plan and provide resources to the people. This will help them to fight against coronavirus. Opportunities should be made for communities to take steps that can influence their lives (Australian Government, 2013).
Capacity building is the process of strengthening recourses and processes. The health system capacity will manipulate the healthcare that will be provided to coronavirus patients. There will be an increase in the demand of the experts and nursing staff in ICU, medicines and ambulance (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2020).
Action and possibly empowerment
Empowerment means to give power. We can do this by sharing information and knowledge between members of the community and agencies. For fighting with the coronavirus disease the community needs to lead the process and own it too. Joint actions should be made so that the power can be transferred to the individuals (Australian Government, 2013).
In conclusion, it can be said that coronavirus is a very deadly disease which has already cost many people their lives. It spread through direct contact with infected individuals. People who are asymptotic are also very dangerous as they transmit this disease without too many other people. It spreads when a healthy person came in contact with the contaminated droplets. Every age group is susceptible to this disease especially the older people. They have a high chance to become a serious case. People who are suffering from chronic diseases are also very vulnerable to coronavirus. In Australia, coronavirus has killed over 400 people and the ratio is still moving in the upward direction. The Victoria state alone reported 17,852 cases up till now. Every day new cases are emerging in VIC. To tackle the situation of coronavirus, WHO is also taking multiple steps.
They have framed some guidelines which could help people and government with the coronavirus situations and its response. WHO mentioned to take help from communities and asking for their more involvement in the planning and decision making. The Australian government have also stated some points that will help in emergency response. They have mentioned taking help from every level of government so proper surveillance and monitoring could be done. They also similarly like WHO, have told to involve the community and local people. For the community engagement and mobilization strategy, several steps can be taken. They are the engagement of the community, consultation with the experts, the participation of the people from different levels, organising resources to combat the problem, building of capacity that will withstand the problematic situation and empowerment of the individuals and members of the community. By taking these steps the difficulty with the coronavirus situation could be handled within the community and in the country as well.
Australian Government, Department of Health. ( 2020). Australian health sector emergency response plan for novel coronavirus (COVID- 19). Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/02/australian-health-sector-emergency-response-plan-for-novel-coronavirus-covid-19_2.pdf
Australian Government, Department of Health. ( 2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers
Australian Government. (2013). National strategy for disaster resilience. Community engagement framework. Retrieved from https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Documents/publications/National-Strategy-for-Disaster-Resilience-Community-Engagement-Framework.pdf
Australian Government. (2019). Australian emergency management arrangements. Retrieved from https://www.aidr.org.au/media/1764/aidr_handbookcollection_australian-emergency-management-arrangement_web_2019-08-22_v11.pdf
Shen, K., Yang, Y., Wang, T., Zhao, D., Jiang, Y., Jin, R., Zheng, Y., Xu, B., Xie, Z., Lin, L., Shang, Y., Lu, X., Shu, S., Bai, Y., Deng, J., Lu, M., Ye, L., Wang, X., Wang, Y., Gao, L., … Global Pediatric Pulmonology Alliance (2020). Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in children: Experts' consensus statement. World Journal of Pediatrics : WJP, 16(3), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12519-020-00343-7
World Health Organization. (2013) WHO’s emergency response framework. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/hac/about/erf_.pdf?ua=1
World Health Organization. (2020). WHO coronavirus disease dashboard. Retrieved from https://covid19.who.int/
World Health Organization. 2020. Role of community engagement in situations of extensive community transmission of COVID-19. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/acer/Downloads/WPR-DSE-2020-016-eng.pdf
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