The Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust was established in 1985 to honour the life, and propagate the legacy, of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to carry forward the many causes which were dear to her.
The Trust awards every year the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development. The areas of activity close to Indira Ji’s heart were issues of Development and Human Development and foremost among them was Disease and Healthcare.
The latter were put to a devastating test during the Covid pandemic in the years 2020 and 2021. After initial confusion about treatment aggravated by data paucity and data opacity, it was realised in medical circles that management of its complications relied on supportive care and oxygen supplementation via non-invasive or mechanical ventilation.
Despite these handicaps, the very large number of medical personnel – doctors, nurses, paramedics and the support personnel constituting the medical fraternity that the country is blessed with – responded to the challenges splendidly and often at the cost of their welfare and even lives.
The impact of the pandemic on all aspects of national life and on the country’s economy was enormous. According to one study the estimated quarterly impact of Covid-19 in 2020-2021 beginning with the initial lockdown and apart from being personal and psychological, was most noticeable in areas of trade and travel industry, construction and manufacturing.Its implications were most acutely felt by the migrant population and daily wage earners for whom the correctives were least timely and adequate.
The ranks of the Covid Warriors came from all segments of or people and from all parts of the country. Their experience, collective and individual, cannot be adequately recorded. The suffered on two counts – as individuallyas members of society and collectively as members of a category of citizens required to undertake socially required duties without fail.
Today’s prize is to these unnamed Warriors through the representatives of their organisations present here today.