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 Table of Contents 
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 5083-5084  

COVID: We need citizen's charter for common folks

Department of Community Medicine, MGM Medical College and Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India

Date of Submission08-Jun-2020
Date of Decision14-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance15-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ranabir Pal
Department of Community Medicine, MGM Medical College and Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar - 855 107
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1125_20

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How to cite this article:
Pal R. COVID: We need citizen's charter for common folks. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:5083-4

How to cite this URL:
Pal R. COVID: We need citizen's charter for common folks. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 21];9:5083-4. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2020/9/9/5083/296273

Dear Editor,

It is my lifetime novel experience to live inside a pandemic as senior citizen. After reading with keen interest the thought provoking Editorial “Preventive and treatment strategies of COVID-19: From community to clinical trials” based on the international and national guidelines,[1] I feel to share among healthcare fraternity, as public health practitioner, these “food for thought” on well-documented personal safety issues during this pandemic.

Aarogya Setu

The stakeholders of our country have attempted to introduce an app to track all Indian citizens to digitally network even during travel. Yet, this cellphone application has limited use because maximum 40 crores cellphone user in India can use this app in a population of nearly 138 crores.[2],[3]

Social distancing

As per census of India 2011, around 13.7 million households, 17.4 per cent of urban households, with around 68 million people live in informal settlements and homeless unevenly spread over country. They have low per capita floor space in normal time, and they are not expected to practice “Social distancing” in this “new normal” pandemic situation.[4]

Frequent hand washing

As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) and District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS), in our country overall 10 percent of households i.e., more than 13 crores, have no access to water supply. Further, there is also scarcity of sufficient safe water in places of population movement and congregation making this call impossible for all.[2],[5],[6]

Use of mask, sanitizers as personal protective responsibilities

Consistent and correct use of N95 quality mask prevents spread of virus; in absence of scope of hand washing, sanitizer is advocated for personal safety- the costs of both the mask and sanitizers depend on the quality and durability. In our country, as per Census 2011, nearly 22 per cent of population is poor.[4] We should not expect that, after spending on their more urgent provisions of daily basic as well as primary needs including food, they will have spare money for expected use of mask and sanitizer for all their family members. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MOHFW- GOI) has suggested that people who are apparently healthy or have breathing difficulties may use reusable handmade face cover at outdoors. However, these are not recommended for healthcare providers even without contact to COVID-19 infected persons – they require specified protective gears. The caregivers and all essential service providers as well as close contacts, need N-95 or equivalent quality masks to prevent rapid community spread, unfortunately costing hundreds of rupees for each piece.[7]

Citizens' responsibility towards neighbors and healthcare providers

During lockdown and restricted movement periods, citizens have enough time to sit together to share and care in the community, but they cannot do so to prevent virus transmission as advocated by the stakeholders. Yet, clear guideline is highly needed regarding the rights and responsibilities of citizen towards their neighbors or fellow citizens during their crisis as to “how they will stand for the neighbor in need”. We received standalone instructions to stay home safely during lockdown; thereafter instructed to move with personal responsibilities; all vertical instructions arrived without scope of horizontal transmission or percolation or sharing of knowledge as part of altruism on pandemic control. Also, news of harassment of healthcare providers as for being denied of entry in their own homes and apartments complexes or even evicted from their rented residences, denied of essential commodities like food, milk, and other indispensable services as a form of “mass boycott” or “untouchability”; unfortunately, only “lip services” were available from the stakeholders to save these true worriers. We need mass education and crystal clear “Citizen's charter” as the most important step to unite folk in our society at this critical hour.

What is to be done?

An environment of fear, uncertainty, and distrust in engulfing us amid this SARS COV-2 pandemic – this is unexpected, unwanted, and highly deplorable. We need “unity among diversity” in our multilingual and multicultural rich heritage, to instill high ethical behavior and inculcate moral responsibility in the mindset of all our countrymen to help each other with whatever possible ways – socially, economically, and psychologically. For this we need a “Citizen's charter” with transparent directions “How the citizens will get updated scientific guidelines?”, “How to involve them to follow and creatively develop the guidelines to combat this dreaded pandemic?” As the natural history of this virus is still under research, we need to help our folks to learn the philosophy of “Live with the disease” for infinite days to come. “Target the heart, Mind will follow” – we need participatory leadership as the call of the day.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sahu KK, Kumar R. Preventive and treatment strategies of COVID-19: From community to clinical trials. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:2149-57.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. [online] [cited 2020 Jun 08]. Retrieved from: https://www. worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=home AdUOA?Si.  Back to cited text no. 2
Census of India. [online] [cited 2020 Jun 08]. Retrieved from: https://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011Census/pes/Pesreport.pdf.  Back to cited text no. 4
National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). [online] [cited 2020 Jun 08]. Retrieved from: http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-4Reports/India.pdf.  Back to cited text no. 5
Paul SK, Kumar R, Pal R, Ghosh A. Safe drinking water and toilet facility in public places in India: What we need to do! J Family Med Prim Care 2020; 9(6): 2593-9. DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_318_20.  Back to cited text no. 6
Advisory on use of Homemade Protective Cover for Face & Mouth. [online] [cited 2020 Jun 08] Retrieved from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Advisory&ManualonuseofHomemadeProtectiveCoverforFace&Mouth.pdf.  Back to cited text no. 7


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