The suspicions of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) of the Goa Government’s disastrous COVID-response have been finally vindicated by the researchers of the prestigious Stanford University of USA.
For months now, the GFP had bemoaned the lack of priority, seriousness, transparency and an effective plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Goa. At various times, our genuine public health concerns were dismissed by many, including by a section of the media, as mere ‘politicking’. Many of the things we said three months back, however, are now coming to haunt the Goa Government such as the lack of synergy between the political executive, the bureaucracy and the medical experts; their lack of medical preparedness with the required critical infrastructure, the dismal status of the testing capacity in the State, the unfolding quarantine scams, etc.
Now our concern of lack of transparency leading to a lack of an effective response to the pandemic by the Government machinery led by Dr Pramod Sawant is proved by the researchers from the Stanford University. In a study conducted in the latter half of May 2020 of the quality of COVID-19 data reporting by various States and UTs in India, Goa has scored a poor 0.21, even below the median value of 0.26, on a scale of 0 to 1.
According to the authors of this Study, reporting relevant data in a timely, transparent, and accessible manner is crucial during a pandemic. The advantages of such a timely reporting are two-fold: First, it fosters trust between the Government and the public and, thereby ensures public cooperation. Second, it enables the scientific community to rapidly and continually study the reported data to gain insights and propose better containment measures and policies.
Interestingly, the researchers also see a correlation between COVID-19 Data Reporting Score (CDRS) and the Sustainable Development Goal India Index for Good Health and Well-Being (SDG3-II). The positive correlation suggests that governments which are making more progress toward the “sustainable development goal of good health and well-being” also tend to have better COVID-19 data reporting. This implies that Goa is faring poorly in its progress with the UN sustainable development goal of good health and well-being (SDG3-II).
The poor COVID-19 Data Reporting Score (CDRS) of Goa is a vindication of our charge of lack of transparency, coherency and effectiveness in the Government’s fight against the pandemic. The Government, on the contrary, has shown extraordinary ability and effectiveness in fighting any of its just critics or opposition, rather than the pandemic.
In view of the above, the Goa Forward Party reiterates its earlier demand that the COVID-19 response in Goa be led by a team of independent and indigenous medical and scientific experts rather than by half-baked politicians and bureaucrats who have in the last few months woefully sacrificed and aligned the medical objectives to the nefarious political objectives of the Government.
We hope at least now the BJP Government in Goa led by the Doctor-CM, Pramod Sawant, will shed its ‘cloak-and-dagger’ operation involving intrigue, secrecy, mystery and spin of numbers and narrative in its COVID-response and be transparent before the Goan public and the political class and thus gain their much needed trust and cooperation in our common fight against the pandemic. We hope better sense will prevail before the situation becomes irredeemable!