Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

IFP Editorial: Considering the number of tests done daily, the positivity rate is quite high. Now, the important question is how many families have the facilities as laid down in the guidelines for home isolation in the state.


(Representational Image: IFP)

 

Home isolation for Covid 19 positives is becoming a big headache in the second wave as the virus becomes airborne and highly infectious. The introduction of home isolation SOPs in the first wave for Covid 19 positives who are asymptomatic or those having mild symptoms had created a flutter among the general population in several localities, even creating hostility towards the families who were housing Covid positive family members at home. Even though the local clubs were made to understand the difficulties of housing all positive persons in Covid Care Centres opened by the authorities, it was very difficult to convince many at the individual level. The idea of home isolation was developed in view of the large number of asymptomatic cases besides very mild and pre-symptomatic cases, due to lack of adequate facilities or required manpower to man the Covid Care Centres.

In the first wave also, the state run Covid Care Centres were exploding as the surge continued and it seems to be the main consideration for advising home isolation with SOPs and guidelines by health authorities. It was in fact manageable during the first wave, as the virus had not yet mutated to its present virulent strain. But, home isolation in the second wave is becoming unmanageable now as the virus spreads faster and jumps to other family members and in fact infecting whole families.

As of Wednesday, out of the cumulative number of 46,298 positive cases in the state 21,839 persons were advised home isolation of which 4,789 are still active cases. Out of the total figure as many as 38,325 persons have recovered while 7,243 are still active besides 730 deaths. And, the daily surge of positive cases has jumped 800 plus in the last few days from 150 plus in early May.

Considering the number of tests done daily, the positivity rate is quite high. Now, the important question is how many families have the facilities as laid down in the guidelines for home isolation in the state.

Except for some upper-class and middle class families in the urban areas, separate toilet facilities for each member of the family is very rare. In most poor and middle class families, common toilet is a feature in many homes. The very idea of home isolation caters to the rich who can afford separate toilets and it was developed by health officials and bureaucrats with their own homes as the model set-up without taking into account the social infrastructure and traditions. It is not only in urban areas, but in rural areas also most families share a common toilet.

Many states are still struggling to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) states and toilets had just started to enter the scene, and the idea of separate toilets is yet to take shape in the Indian imagination. This reality has not been taken into consideration by the policy framers of Covid 19 emergency response. These framers of Covid 19 policies and creators of SOPs needs an orientation on the realities of the Indian situation both in urban and rural world. In fact, they should be advised to view the Akshay Kumar starrer film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ so that they get to understand the reality. They will find, the very idea of home isolation is defeated here.

The health administrators and the top bureaucrats must also understand that, there cannot be a single solution for every problem and one needs to take into account multiple problems as per the social norms prevalent in different regions. This has been the main concern of general public in authorities advising home isolation to Covid positive persons in the localities. So, there is a need to give more emphasis on the Community Home Isolation Centres (CHIC) and its expansion, while completely doing away with the home isolation theory.

-EDITORIAL

First Published:May 27, 2021, 8:34 a.m.

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