New Delhi: After declaring in Parliament that the government has no data on the number of migrant deaths after the sudden lockdown on March 25, the Narendra Modi government has made another shocking announcement – it has no data on the number of doctors and health workers who died on the frontlines of the COVID-1- battle.
The government’s statement, understandably, has raised the hackles of the medical fraternity, with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) hitting out at the government for “abandoning” the “corona warriors.”
Upset with the government, IMA even listed the 382 doctors who had died of coronavirus, adding that youngest doctor to lose his life was 24 years old and the oldest was aged 86.
It may be recalled that a few days ago, the IMA had written to the government seeking “martyr” status for doctors who died on the COVID-19 line of duty, at part with soldiers.
On Wednesday, a day after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan’s statement on COVID-19 in Parliament wherein he failed to even mention the stellar role of doctors and healthcare workers, his junior minister, Ashwini Chaubey informed the House that the Centre had no data on the number of doctors who had died during COVID-19, saying that health was a state subject.
The IMA reacted strongly to the Minister’s statement, falying it for “indifference” and “abdication” as also “abandonment of heroes” and released a list of 382 deceased doctors.
“IMA hereby publishes the list of Indian doctors who died in the pandemic due to Covid 19. We demand they be acknowledged and treated as martyrs. Their families and children deserve solace and from the Government. IMA also urges the Government to seek data from the representatives of nurses and other healthcare workers,” IMA president Rajan Sharma wrote to the government, according to a report in The Tribune.
The IMA also said that if this is the case, the government “loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act 1897 and the Disaster Management Act”.
“To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable,” the IMA statement read. “It appears that they are dispensable. No nation has lost as many doctors and health care workers like India,” the statement added, as per a report in The Tribune.
On junior minister Chaubey saying that the government does not have any compensation data as public health and hospitals fall under the states, the IMA said: “This amounts to abdication of duty and abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people. IMA finds it strange that after having formulated an unfriendly partial insurance scheme for the bereaved families to struggle with the ignominy of the Government disowning them altogether stares at them.”
The association also reportedly mocked the government, blaming it for “hypocrisy” wherein healthcare workers are named “corona warriors but are being denied any insurance compensation or benefits of martyrdom”.
It may be recalled that in March, the Union Health Ministry had announced that 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, would get Rs 50 lakh insurance cover under a national scheme.
Not just doctors, there are lakhs of healthcare personnel, including nurses, ASHA workers, who are risking their lives in the battle against coronavirus. Many of them have also died I the line of duty, yet there have been growing complaints of negligence, no compensation and even delayed salarie
The body slammed the Centre for saying it does not maintain data about the number healthcare staff who were affected by and died from COVID-19, saying the admission amounts to “abdication of duty and abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people”.
On Monday, Vardhan claimed in parliament that the lockdown “prevented” up to 29 lakh cases and congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for imposing it.
IMA said that while the 19th paragraph of the minister’s statement acknowledges the contribution of healthcare workers during this pandemic, it “conceals” the morbidity and mortality of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.
Criticising the health minister’s “indifference”, the doctors’ body said, “No nation has lost as many doctors and healthcare workers like India. Doctors suffer four times the mortality of ordinary citizens and private practitioners suffer eight times mortality on the same scale.”
“To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable.
The body also reacted sharply to the minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s response that the Centre does not maintain data about the number of healthcare staff who died from COVID-19
To a question from Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, Choubey responded, “Health is a State subject. Such data is not maintained at Central level by [the] Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, [a] database of those seeking relief under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package’ is maintained at [the] national level.”
He annexed a table which said that 155 healthcare workers had died due to COVID-19, of which 64 were doctors. Refuting this number, IMA released a list of 382 doctors who it said died due to the viral infection. “We demand they be acknowledged and treated as martyrs,” the statement says.
“The IMA finds it strange that after having formulated an unfriendly partial insurance scheme for the bereaved families to struggle with the ignominy of the government disowning them altogether stares at them,” it said.
According to the IMA’s data, as many as 2,238 doctors were infected with the disease. Of them, 382 lost their lives, a senior official of the doctors’ body told news agency PTI.
The statement adds:
“If the government doesn’t maintain the statistics of the total number of doctors and healthcare workers infected by COVID- 19 and the statistics of how many of them sacrificed their life due to the pandemic, it loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act 1897 and the Disaster Management Act.”
“This also exposes the hypocrisy of calling them corona warriors on one hand and denying them and their families the status and benefits of martyrdom,” the IMA stated.
The World Health Organisation released a charter on Thursday urging governments and health authorities to better protect health workers. “No country, hospital or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe,” says the WHO’s Health Worker Safety Charter.
It recommended that the government seek similar data from the representatives of nurses and other healthcare workers to fully understand how many frontline workers have succumbed to the viral disease.
The World Well being Group launched a constitution on Thursday urging governments and well being authorities to higher shield well being employees. “No nation, hospital or clinic can hold its sufferers protected until it retains its well being employees protected,” says the WHO’s Well being Employee Security Constitution.
September 17 is noticed yearly as World Affected person Security Day to make sure that well being employees have protected working circumstances, coaching, pay and respect, WHO mentioned in a press release.
The constitution urges governments and people operating well being companies at native ranges to take 5 actions to higher shield well being employees: steps to guard well being employees from violence, enhance their psychological well being, shield them from bodily and organic hazards, advance nationwide programmes for well being employee security and join well being employee security insurance policies to current affected person security insurance policies.
Information from many international locations throughout WHO areas signifies that Covid-19 infections amongst well being employees are far larger than these within the basic inhabitants.
In line with the Indian Medical Affiliation, Union Well being Minister Harsh Vardhan’s assertion in Parliament acknowledges the contribution of healthcare employees in the course of the pandemic. “Nonetheless, it conceals the morbidity and mortality of medical doctors, nurses and healthcare employees. This indifference to the sacrifice of medical doctors and healthcare employees is the fact of Covid-19, ”Dr RV Asokan, secretary basic of IMA, mentioned in a press release.
No nation has misplaced as many medical doctors and healthcare employees as India has to the pandemic, the IMA mentioned. Medical doctors endure 4 occasions the mortality of unusual residents and personal practitioners eight occasions as a lot, mentioned Dr Rajan Sharma, president of IMA. The IMA mentioned they need to be given the standing of martyrs and has submitted an inventory of at the least 382 medical doctors who died from Covid-19 throughout the nation.
The pandemic has additionally positioned very excessive ranges of psychological stress on well being employees uncovered to high-demand settings over lengthy hours, residing in fixed worry of illness publicity whereas separated from household and dealing with social stigmatisation, specialists mentioned. A evaluate of healthcare professionals discovered that one in 4 have reported melancholy and nervousness and one in three have suffered insomnia in the course of the pandemic, a WHO assertion mentioned. “There was an alarming rise in stories of verbal harassment, discrimination and bodily violence amongst well being employees within the wake of Covid-19,” WHO has mentioned.
A letter to coronavirus by Dr Mohan Agashe
Dr Mohan Agashe, famous actor and director, has written a letter “to Covid-19”, saying that “the uninvited visitor has stayed too lengthy”. “I by no means thought of Covid-19 as an enemy or declared warfare. Actually, although uninvited, we handled you as a visitor… Let me reside my life with out you, ”Agashe mentioned within the letter posted on social media. In some Fb posts, Agashe has “urged Covid-19 to study to reside its personal life with out getting connected to any particular person”. “Regardless of the lengthy keep, this international emissary of nature despatched to barter a symbiotic coexistence – has taken a big toll and refuses to depart,” Agashe mentioned.
He instructed The Indian Specific that such was the worry that when he wrote on Fb “My submit was for Covid-19 – my present associate”, he received a flurry of messages urging him a speedy restoration. “I’ve examined unfavourable for Covid-19 and now clearly the message for this uninvited visitor is to depart,” Agashe mentioned.
(With PTI inputs)