Stories about health

The psychology behind the denial of the coronavirus

When speaking about community psychology, the health and wellbeing of the society are major themes. When these two are threatened, like today by a pandemic, the psychological response of a community trickles down to form the dominant narrative for individuals.  Sociologist Philip Strong has termed this collective response to a health related crisis epidemic psychology and says that such responses can be observed throughout history’s major outbreaks. He further says that not only the effects of the epidemic or pandemic in this case, spread among the populace but so do the emotional reactions. People can be traumatised by the outbreak ...

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Should Pakistan ask for free internet during the coronavirus pandemic?

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic? There are chances that by now you have been frustrated by the speed of your internet at one point or the other. Maybe your co-worker’s face froze during a Skype meeting, or maybe you were trying to watch a YouTube video that kept buffering or maybe a 5MB picture took more than 10 minutes to download.  These are revealing signs that the internet in Pakistan might be struggling to support the unprecedented surge in use from millions of homebound computer and smartphone users. Since the local governments have imposed lockdowns across the country, ...

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Sindh coronavirus lockdown: The unfamiliar sight of leaders, leading

We often see the chicken and the egg problem in political systems; chronically bad leaders and a cynical populace coexist in mutual contempt. In this scenario, if a leader tries to do good, the population is ill-equipped to recognise it because, like a snarling, abused street dog, it has known only ill treatment and neglect. Such has been the case in Karachi during the recent weeks. Unused to leaders leading or, indeed, fulfilling even the basic requirements of governance, Karachiites have been treated to the unfamiliar sight of the Sindh government taking proactive measures against the COVID-19 menace. From the prescient decision ...

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Why Pakistan must ban congregational prayers during the COVID-19 crisis

Many years ago, I read Christina Lamb’s famous but controversial book titled Waiting for Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy. Although her book, touched upon various facets of the Pakistani society, it focused on the role of religion. She made two key arguments. First that Pakistan was trapped by the need to adhere to a “true” version of Islam, which impeded its progress. She wrote, “The more the country strives for what its religious scholars see as true Islam, the less equipped it becomes for running a twentieth-century state, and the more it is forced to watch once-lagging competitors such ...

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How a Pakistani is weathering the COVID-19 lock down in Denmark

It was late January and I had just returned from a packed month of travel across Europe and South Asia. Novel coronavirus cases had just begun to emerge in Wuhan, China, the then epicenter of the virus. Sitting all the way in Scandinavia, the coronavirus at first appeared to be a pneumonia-like disease that would remain limited to China but then it started rapidly spreading to other East Asian countries and penetrated all of Europe courtesy borderless travelling. The seriousness of the situation first struck me when a hotel in Santa Cruz, Spain, was shut down as cases had surged in ...

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How Pakistan’s economic crisis is impacting women

The fact that Pakistan’s economy is in a crisis need not be restated. Inflation rates are at a historic high, industrial units are shutting down, workers are being laid-off and there are limited employment opportunities for job market entrants. Sources of revenue are shrinking and the daily life of most the country’s population has become significantly harder. Opinion writers, academics and economists have said a lot about the current economic crisis and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. There is also little to no doubt that the average man is struggling to keep up with the current ...

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Is it wise to evacuate the Pakistani students stuck in Wuhan?

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan stands with the people of China during the devastating coronavirus epidemic in the province of Hubei, but has no plans to evacuate its citizens currently in the city of Wuhan; ground zero of the virus. Immediately after the outbreak, Wuhan was put under a curfew. The entire city was effectively quarantined.  A sizeable number of Pakistani students studying there have been appealing to the government of Pakistan, pleading that they be evacuated. Video messages of different students have been pouring in from all over Wuhan city claiming that they are living in constant fear and ...

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The coronavirus epidemic in the eyes of a foreign student

I have been living in China since September 2018 and felt compelled to write this piece, following the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak in China and especially to address the concerns of those watching from the outside. Many families are also concerned about the wellbeing of the Pakistani students quarantined in the country. However, I firmly believe that if any government can handle an outbreak, it has to be Chinese. My time in the country has reinforced my belief in the prowess of the Chinese government to the extent where I volunteered to stay back to follow the travel ban ...

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China coronavirus: Is Pakistan at risk?

As the coronavirus forces the authorities in China to place 12 cities under lock-down, including the reported epicentre of the virus – Wuhan, just how wide-ranging the ramifications of this virus can be are slowly coming to light. While China attempts to grapple with this worsening health epidemic, it is quickly becoming evident that this is not simply a problem which will remain confined within the borders of China. Thus far, more than 800 cases of the coronavirus have surfaced in China and 26 individuals have already lost their lives due to it. But fears of the virus spreading have only been ...

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Sustainable development goals have to take centre stage for Pakistan at Davos

As world leaders prepare to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, it seems that the issue of building a sustainable future will take centre stage at the summit. This year’s theme for the WEF is “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world”, hence emphasising the urgency with which leaders across the globe need to address one of the most pressing issues the planet is currently facing. After the bush fires in Australia, volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, floods in Jakarta, mass burning of the Amazon rain-forest, famine in Zambia, water scarcity in Mexico and dangerous weather patterns in North America; leaders ...

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