I would say the best advice in most situations is to provide the current scientific knowledge to protect, prevent and treat (if treatment is available) a disease or injury/loss of life; caused by impending natural or man-made disaster.
As humans we have the ability to think and act in the best interests for ourselves, our families, our community, our region and beyond.
Those who have the means and power to control or influence other people’s daily lives must ensure that they take care of their responsibilities of maintaining equity and justice in allocation of resources, ensuring due process and access to essential information for health and safety.
Sadly, what we see today are corrupted institutions of democracy and apathy towards the vulnerable. People dying of starvation and forced into overcrowded shelters or walking barefoot hungry hundreds of kilometers with little or no water & food due to lockdown in India and elsewhere. This is misuse of public health practice of quarantine. We as humans can do better. Instead of letting produce and grains rot in storage, it can be distributed among the starving population.
Public health measures of quarantine etc are meant for public good and these should not become tools of oppression in the hands of corrupt governments. It’s time for scientific community to speak up for equity and justice to serve the purpose of creating better societies where vulnerable are protected. Science is meant for progress and must remain so for all humanity.
Shabina Hussain, MBBS, DPH, MPH
HIFA profile: Shabina Hussain is an independent global health consultant and is based in the USA. Professional interests: Maternal & Child Health, Family Planning, Reproductive & Sexual Health, women's rights, survival of girl child, poverty eradication, Prevention of Infectious diseases. hussain.shabina AT gmail.com