Coordination and Integration of All Stakeholders to Counter COVID-19
The general impression among the common Pakistanis is that the government needs to provide for all the provisions needed to fight against COVID-19. However, the success in China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong points to a fundamental fact that efforts of the government alone cannot deal with a pandemic as rampant as COVID-19. No matter how strong or well-equipped a state is, all actors need to contribute within an economy. So far, in the context of Pakistan combatting the pandemic, we have seen mobilization at various fronts, namely government, certain businesses, tech companies, and communities at the local level1. For example, within the industrial sector, there have been efforts for the production of the much-needed ventilators within the automobile-parts manufacturing units and also for protective suits for the paramedical staff within some textile industries. Similarly, all telecommunication companies are working hard to keep Pakistan virtually connected not just for information flow but to keep the economic activity going through virtual means. Further, cellular technology is being used for geotagging of COVID-19 intensity and through the information collected via web-surveys of self-assessment of COVID symptoms2. Hence a lot of good initiatives are coming forth from the industrial sector. Similarly, at the community level, individuals and NGOs can be witnessed making a lot of efforts for the distribution of food. However, effective coordination of the above processes and of the governmental machinery still seem weak at many levels within Pakistan’s response to the pandemic. This can be inferred by how at the community level or by big and small businesses, the efforts seem fragmented. Industries that came forward in the context of ventilators production or production of protective gear for the paramedics are still not working at the level of full capacity3. Similarly, at the community level, what is being reported on media is either help is not reaching the poor, or there may exist duplication by various governmental and non-governmental efforts that need to be checked4.