Young Indians (Yi) hosted a virtual Round-Table session, Beyond the 2nd Wave of COVID 19 with experts from WHO, Israel, Singapore, UK, USA, and India. The roundtable recognized how India despite its constraints has overcome the pandemic. The evening helped assimilate key learnings from other nations which have dealt with the impact of the pandemic earlier would help Young Indians build an actionable plan on the way forward for the stakeholders.
Smita Agarwal, National Chair, CII Young Indians, said that “Young Indians, virtual roundtable was curated to initiate a dialogue on the role of Youth, with a special focus on the actions and behavior that the Youth across the country can initiate and lead over the next 6 months as the world, and India recalibrates to combat COVID and sustain economic growth.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation (WHO) said that, “If you neglect health then everything can come to a standstill and collapse. Both physical and mental health is central and mental health has been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic. New innovations need to be initiated by the talented youth. Youth are the future and they need to have a say. Their ideas need to be embraced, assessed, validated and scaled by policy makers.”
She further said about how all the sustainable development goals were interconnected with health. “New initiatives should consider all sections of people as those could have positive and negative implications on the health of citizens at large”.
Professor Leo Yee-Sin, Executive Director, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore reiterated the importance of vaccination. “The important aspects of Singapore’s COVID 19 preparedness for the pandemic included enhanced surveillance, active case finding, containment and reduced importation.”
Dr Adini Wiesel Bruria, Head of the Department, Emergency Management and Disaster Medicine, Tel Aviv University shared an interesting insight about how youngsters are more concern with the adverse effect of the pandemic than elders.
“In Israel, the young population between 31 to 40 years was more concerned about the economic issues and health concerns by COVID 19 than the elderly”. She added, “Networking, sharing of experiences and insights is important to make communities resilient and able to manage the current pandemic”.
“Educationally there has been a huge loss of learning. When some were able to learn at home with the technology, many were not which has created immense inequality”, Prof Dr Paul Roderick, Professor Public Health, University of Southampton commented from the European experience.
Dr Vidya Sundareshan, Professor and Chief, Infectious Diseases, SIU School of Medicine,Illinois shared a 3 pronged plan of, “acknowledging that vaccine hesitancy is a worldwide reality ,adapting all policies as relevant to the local population is a must with eliminating disinformation infodemic” .
Dr Jacob John, Professor, Community Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, brought the India context and specific to children suggested. “Children have a small but definite risk. Teaching them to comply with masking is challenging, but even partial compliance will help. Until significant numbers are vaccinated, we need to be cautious with opening schools and ensure they get exercise and keep them outdoors as much as possible”
The virtual roundtable culminated with Diah Samarsih , Youth Envoy of the DG WHO , culminating with an invitation for organisations working with the youth needed to be central to the policy and advocacy.
CII-Yi is a movement for Indian Youth to converge, lead, co-create and influence India’s future. Formed in 2002, Yi has over 3600 direct members in 55 chapters, and 29500 students YUVA members from colleges. Yi membership includes young entrepreneurs, professionals and achievers from different walks of life.