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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 87-88  

Till we win: India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission07-Feb-2021
Date of Decision07-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication20-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Rajib Dasgupta
Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_108_21

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How to cite this article:
Dasgupta R. Till we win: India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Public Health 2021;65:87-8

How to cite this URL:
Dasgupta R. Till we win: India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 20];65:87-8. Available from:

Authors: Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Dr. Randeep Guleria

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Pages: 352

Price: Rs. 299

Published in October 2020, this book offers deep insights into the initial 6 months of India's response, certainly the most difficult phase so far. It is dedicated, rightly so, to the frontline health-care workers, particularly the women workers – the Accredited Social Health Workers and the nurses. They constitute not only the “face” of the health system (as the authors put it in the dedication page), but as they go on to convincingly demonstrate, the backbone too – putting service before their selves.

The authors bring together the trinity of specializations – public health, clinical medicine, and laboratory sciences – that mounted a well-coordinated response in India. As this goes to the print, the country is well poised on the road to recovery, notwithstanding a very difficult journey through public health, economic, and humanitarian challenges. It is this story that the authors have chronicled through 11 chapters of this book. The chapters are grouped in four sections: Understating the challenge; Mounting a response; Science, solidarity and hope; and, Getting future-ready. The first section puts together a set of discrete facts in the realms of virology, evolution, and the emergence of zoonoses as key public health events. This understanding is the key to recognizing that this is a pandemic situation and not just a seasonal flu as some may have been inclined to believe in the early phases. The second section captures the multifaceted story of India's response through nearly a hundred pages of well-crafted text. It dwells across a breadth of elements including the basics of the public health strategies to the unfolding of policy initiatives that had to respond to the fast pace of events. The most noteworthy chapter in this section is the one on the “undaunted human spirits” of the frontline health-care staff; the authors have taken pains to scan wide and dig deep to bring together the stories of these unknown and unsung heroes. The third section brings forth sensitively the travails of the clinician in a situation where there is no known treatment and the disease may inexorably lead to a plethora of complications and deaths, with the additional fear of the clinical services getting overwhelmed looing large (as became evident early on going by the experiences of some countries). The other chapter in this section on the underlying processes of vaccine development -- explaining succinctly relevant aspects of immunology, population level immunity, the scope and role of vaccines and the deployment of those in public health practice. The fourth section points to the future of pandemic control, touching upon its diverse dimensions – from developing and deploying technology to human behaviors and the power of social cohesion.

This book deftly brings together an enormous range of issues in connection with the pandemic from the global to the local. The authors were guided by the central doctrine that the COVID-19 response is indeed long haul, as science and technology are just the tools that will need the systems, processes, and policies for sustained implementation. Equally central to their motivation to the author, this book has been the recognition that this organized complexity of knowledge and practice needs to be communicated in a succinct manner as much to an inquisitive lay reader as to policymakers and practitioners. They pursue a narrative style that includes an inexhaustible set of questions and answers in each chapter, going beyond a relatively bland narrative that this could have become. Rich in both information and analysis, the book is eminently “unputdownable.” It delineates those aspects of our lives as well as health care that will never be the same again, ending on a note of optimism – underscoring the interconnectedness of science, technology, and society.


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