The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many services close shop over fears of being infected, but there are some who continue to work despite the threat hanging over them. People like doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, sanitation workers, social welfare workers, and essential government staff have kept on working to ensure the smooth functioning of the country and its citizens. So on United Nations Public Service Day 2020, we take a look at the role of the public servants during the pandemic. Also Read - United Nations Public Service Day 2020: Here Are 10 Quotes That Describe a Public Servant
In line with the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the roles public servants play have, as per the United Nations, been identified as policy and strategy planning; provision of services; development of infrastructure; mobilization and utilization of resources; monitoring and evaluation; and institutional and human resource capacity development. Also Read - United Nations Public Service Day 2020: Read to Know History And Significance of The Day
Ensuring Continuity of Public Services:
The COVID-19 pandemic could have disrupted services if not for the courageous public servants who have been quick to adapt and re-adjust their ways of delivering services. An example is the way teachers and facilitators of education have been able to go from classrooms to teaching online so school and college going kids do not suffer. Similarly, medical facilities that are providing help online, and courts that are hearing and judging cases through video conferencing.
Service Before Self: Courage And Humanness in Practice:
Many healthcare workers have putting their own lives on the line to ensure that people are safe and well. In some countries, many of them have lost their lives and contracted the virus because of the poor equipment and working conditions, but the rest still go on working. Even police officers who work daily to ensure everyone’s safety have been hit badly by the virus as they lack protective gear. Their heroic self-sacrifice and extraordinary humanness have saved many lives.
Quick Thinking, Creativity And Innovation:
Public servants who were used to following a predictable routine, have suddenly been thrust into a totally new situation by the COVID-19 virus. They have had to be quick on their feet and come up with ideas on the spot to counter the threat posed to the delivery service. From construction of a makeshift two storied hospital in 10 days to accommodate patients to drive-thru testing sites and contact tracing apps, they have been quick to respond to the crisis and come up with solutions.
Reliable Information And Awareness as a Critical Service:
When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, there was hardly any reliable information about it and it led to the virus spreading far and wide. It was through public servants in the health sector, including frontline doctors and nurses, virologists, epidemiologists and other health experts that word got out about the highly contagious virus. From there it was picked up public health officials, the news media and research institutions, leading to the information reaching the public.
Sustaining Resilience And Building a More Effective And Responsive Public Service:
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first nor will it be the last the world will see. In this area, public service plays an important role as it must prepare the service to be more resilient for any future crisis. Public servants must turn the challenges they face at this time into learning opportunities. They can devise strategies to strengthen resilience, effectiveness and responsiveness of the public service and the services they deliver to be better prepared in the future.
The abrupt and brutal disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the public service and public servants into a frenzy, forcing them to not only deal with fighting its spread but trying to manage its accompanying socioeconomic fallout.