Nurses in the UAE make us all proud
I write to you in reference to Ramola Talwar Badam's piece Coronavirus: Indian nurses tell of emotional farewells after answering 'call to serve' in UAE (May 11): I just want to say thank you to all the nurses for their service. We are so proud of all of you.
Prajwal Shetty, Dubai
Lessons from Kerala: preparedness of health care services
With reference to the op-ed by Johaan Chacko Coronavirus: What Kerala can teach us all about flattening the curve (May 8): this was an incisive piece. An important point made by the writer was that Kerala was well prepared to fight Covid-19 as it had ramped up its health services over a period of time, with “hospital bed availability rates that resemble high-income countries more than those of the developing world”.
Covid-19 should also lead nations to introspect on how much they are spending on the health care of its citizens. As people were infected by the virus in many countries, they were traumatised about whether they would be admitted to the hospital, permitted a bed or a ventilator. Many patents died trying to find a bed in a hospital. Doctors in Europe had to make hard decisions about which patient to give the limited ventilators to. These are agonising thoughts.
Many countries spend as low as one or two per cent of their gross domestic product annually on health care. India, for instance, spends about 1.28 per cent of its GDP on public health, according to the latest National Health Profile data. The US spends 18 per cent of its gross domestic product, which is over $10,000 per person a year.
There is also a desperate shortage of ICU beds and ventilators. After the Covid-19 challenge, every country should ensure that it spends at least five per cent of its GDP on public health so that in an emergency there are adequate hospitals, beds, staff and protective equipment.
Nations spend billions of dollars on arms every year. We need to ponder afresh. Fighting a contagious, galloping disease to save human lives, is an important battle too.
Rajendra Aneja, Dubai
Has some of the sheen worn off holidays and long weekends?
With regard to your report Eid holiday dates announced for public-sector workers (May 11): as much as people were looking forward to a long weekend, annual holidays and a break from work, in these globally desperate times with unemployment rates soaring and a lot of people trying to secure a job to go to work, long weekends seem to have diminished somewhat in meaning.
Omer Faruk, Singapore
Updated: May 12, 2020 03:45 PM