Combat COVID 19 and imminent economic recession for a country like Bangladesh

Pamelia Khaled:

Coronavirus uncovers a serious problem with how the aftermath of the economic recession will be managed by the least developing and developing countries like Bangladesh. The pandemic situation can cause severe economic turndown within a few months across the globe if we do not address each issue conscientiously. Did the leaders of the developing and least developing countries work out on this issue at all, for example, Bangladesh? What measures have they taken to prevent this highly infectious disease after they were alerted by the World Health Organization? 

 If not, it is time to sit down for the country leaders, cabinet members, health and financial stakeholders, politicians, and oppositions so that Bangladesh Government can handle both situations, such as health disaster and economic unsustainability. To tackle the upcoming recession needs a more robust and reliable budget and side by side, an effective health prevention plan. 

Each country needs to redesign a solid, competent financial plan to deal with health services and economic failure. As we can see, First World leaders have a big budgetary plan, and they already put it on the table to face challenges and save their people.

 For a developing or least developing country, we assume, perhaps the maximum capacity could be a few million only to undertake health emergencies. Hence, the country leaders need to solicit aids to the First World leaders and international agencies to support their citizens and recover their economic state promptly.

Bangladesh’s health care system, its facilities, and the underlying condition are vulnerable. Surprisingly, regarding Coronavirus protection, the Bangladesh government could not have any influence on the people or no massive awareness plan dealing with the pandemic situation. A few incidences (the dissatisfaction of the air flight passengers and their anger on the identifying COVID and isolation process) indicate that Bangladeshis are reluctant about the necessity and reasons for the self-isolation and not convinced of quarantine activity eventually. 

People should be motivated by one’s moral sense of right and wrong, which is absent in most people of Bangladesh. They deny abiding rules and laws as the state could not set up enough examples of social morality in front of the public. This is why the Bangladesh government needs to work hard for people aware of this regard.  

 

Furthermore, the government got enough time from the death and tumultuous condition stories of European countries and their patients, hospitals, nurses, and doctors. Nevertheless, Bangladesh could not come up with a visionary countrywide plan to combat coronavirus, such as identifying affected people, sending the suspected people in quarantine, and lock down the schools, colleges, universities and other institutions timely. 

There are no such approaches taken so far for the safety and security or to support the needy segments, such as low and middle-income earners or vendors and small business holders. And there are no solutions for the poor such as the domestic workers, support workers, daily laborers, factory workers, including the low paid workers of the different informal sectors. 

 The most negligence has been shown implementing safety rules through social media such as television, radio, and newspapers, and no such initiatives have taken to notify people on the consequences of noncompliance with the government’s announcement on safety and security measures. 

For instance, zero-tolerance policies could be taken of not abiding policies of quarantine, self-isolation, group mixing outside of the homes, shut down street food and restaurants and closing retail stores for at least 3 to 4 weeks (except groceries, pharmacy, and home accessories). 

In order to prevent the severity of COVID 19, a few compelling speech deliveries from the country leader could be helpful to explain to people why self-isolation is necessary. 

To prevent a pandemic, Bangladesh could have taken lessons from her neighboring countries and provinces such as West Bengal and Kerala. Unfortunately, the Bangladesh government and its people failed to comprehend the severity of this disease. It did not include any prevention plans to tackle upcoming health disasters instead left all doors (air and road transportations, schools and colleges, mass congregations, etc.) open to spreading viruses on the small crowded land.   

COVID 19 raised concerns regarding the short- or long-term economic shock across the globe. It would impact in the lower middle income or middle-income countries financially. It is not only how to combat COVID 19 that caused the pandemic. The economic downturn is going to be an emergent problem that would arise from the restriction announcement and lock down the borders (the preventive measures saving people). 

If Asian and African countries cannot take initiatives to secure financial assistance, including enough food grains and health resources from the First World, international organizations, and the United Nations, then, what could happen. It will jeopardize the least developing and developing countries’ economies and health and safety environment as well. This pandemic can cause famine in many locations if the least developing and developing country leaders do not take strict measures and proper initiatives on time.

This pandemic situation raise question of approaches are taken by WHO and United nations. The global health policies should be concerned and declare their plans to save people who will be behind in the health and economic race. Moreover, this can be done with a cordial joint effort of all wealthy country leaders.  

 If we turn our heads to North America and Europe, we will see how they are taking measures. For example, boosting the Canadian economy and people’s morale who are not under the employment benefits, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced for a few things, such as emergency -aid packages helping workers and business professionals who are going to suffer for the lockdown and isolation. 

The aid package is divided as $27 billion for emergency purposes for workers and businesses and $55 billion for tax deferrals. Similarly, the Trump administration announced a huge, considerable budget to bolster the US economy, such as 1 trillion. Britain also declared for a rescue package US$ 400 billion for businesses. For the crisis management so far, France planned for US$50 billion to help business organizations and their workers.

Previously, we learned, the G20 performed a significant role in responding to the 2008 financial crisis. The world leaders agreed to take measures to rescue the global economy. Then what about now in this pandemic state? 

Are there any promises, policies, and measures to save everyone, global health, such as people of North, including South? The current vulnerable situation is a calling for world leaders, local leaders, including international organizations, such as WHO and the UN. All the measures must be taken now, shortly, before it turns to global health disaster and economic catastrophe.

 

The writer is a Doctoral Candidate working on peace and conflict resolution through science at Curriculum Studies and teacher, Development department, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), Teaching Assistant, Sociology Department, University of Toronto, and founder-president of Volunteer Association for Bangladesh-Canada.

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