Intl. experts discuss COVID-19 in India at CII-Young Indians round table session
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Intl. experts discuss COVID-19 in India at CII-Young Indians round table session

June 13, 2021

‘Innovation, information and reducing inequity of care only way to be one step ahead of  the virus’

Mysore/Mysuru: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mysuru Zone – Young Indians (Yi), Mysuru Chapter, hosted a virtual round table session “Beyond the 2nd Wave of COVID-19 in India” on June 5. Experts from WHO, Israel, Singapore, UK, USA and India took part in the session. 

The round table recognised how India, despite its constraints, has overcome the pandemic. The session helped assimilate key learnings from other nations which have dealt with the impact of the pandemic earlier would help Yi build an actionable plan on the way forward for the stakeholders.

Smita Agarwal, National Chair, CII-Yi, said “the virtual round table was curated to initiate a dialogue on the role of youths, with special focus on actions and behaviour 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, “If you neglect health then everything can come to a standstill and collapse. Both physical and mental health is central and that mental health has been disproportionally affected by the current pandemic. New innovations need to be initiated by the talented youths as they are the future and they need to have a say. Their ideas need to be embraced, assessed, validated and scaled by policy makers.”  

Prof. Leo Yee-Sin, Executive Director, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore, reiterated the importance of vaccination. “The important aspects of Singapore’s COVID 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:  “In Israel, the young population between 31 and 40 years was more concerned about the economic issues and health concerns by COVID-19 than the elderly.”

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“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,” 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: “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 round table culminated with Diah Samarsih, Youth Envoy of the DG WHO, stressing that organisations working with youths need to be central to the policy and advocacy. 

CII-Yi is a movement for Indian youths to converge, lead, co-create and influence India’s future. Formed in 2002, Yi has over 3,600 direct members in 55 chapters and 29,500 students YUVA members from colleges. Yi membership includes young entrepreneurs, professionals and achievers from different walks of life. Through impactful projects and activities under  “Youth Leadership”, “Nation-Building” and “Thought Leadership”, Yi hopes to emerge as a premier Indian Youth Organisation and play an important role in nation-building.

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