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Treat Covid doctors as martyrs, announce compensation & jobs for deceaseds’ kin, IMA asks Modi

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Indian Medical Association has asked for an 'inclusive national solatium' to ensure justice to the families of doctors dying on the Covid frontline.

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New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association — the country’s largest doctors’ lobby — has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to acknowledge the casualties among doctors fighting the coronavirus pandemic and also demanded adequate compensation for them.

In a letter dated 30 August, the doctors’ body said that only an “inclusive national solatium” for all doctors who have lost their lives fighting the pandemic will ensure justice to the families of the deceased.

The IMA has asked the government to treat all doctors, who died on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, “at par with martyrs” of the armed forces. The letter added that the dependents of these doctors should also be given government jobs, based on their qualifications.

“All doctors who have laid down their lives in fighting this epidemic should be treated at par with the martyrs of Indian Armed Forces and acknowledged appropriately,” the letter by the IMA noted.

The IMA also cited government data to indicate the high levels of Covid infections among healthcare workers. According to the letter, government data indicates that 87,000 healthcare workers have been infected by the virus while 573 frontline Covid workers have lost their lives in this pandemic.

The IMA also noted that according to its own data set, 307 doctors lost their lives as of 30 August alone and a total of 2,006 of them have been infected.

It added that 188 of those who died were general practitioners, who are the first point of contact for people.

“Doctors suffer a higher viral load and a higher CFR (Case Fatality Rate) as a community. IMA is constrained to point out that they could have stayed back at home during the epidemic safely. They chose to serve the nation in the best traditions of the medical profession,” the letter read.

Also read: Covid an ‘eye-opener’, Manipur doctors say as pandemic exposes cracks in healthcare system

IMA warns of stress and fatigue of medical manpower

The letter comes almost five months after a special insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh was announced by the Centre for doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians, and other healthcare professionals employed under the government in the fight against Covid-19.

The IMA also raised the issue that the solatium in place had failed to reach the intended beneficiaries due to the inadequacy of the “chosen instrument” and “indifference”.

“The scheme is reported to have been lapsed as well. There is a pressing need to reconsider the same on merit and create a dedicated system to administer,” the doctor’s body said.

“A national scheme to support the soldiers fighting a pandemic cannot be allowed to degenerate into just another pecuniary benefit for government servants,” it added.

The IMA also highlighted how crucial it is to ensure the safety of healthcare workers in light of predictions that India will overtake the US with the most number of Covid-19 cases in the world in the next few weeks. It also warned about stress and fatigue of medical manpower.

“Healthcare manpower is precious. Uniform practices have to be put in place throughout the country,” it said.

“The current system of administration has led to considerable difficulties for the medical profession in all sections. The nation deserves a radical approach to the situation,” the IMA added.

This is the second time the IMA has written to PM Modi, asking for compensation for doctors. It had sent a similar letter on 8 August, but had not received a response as of 26 August.

Also read: 273 doctors have died of Covid but govt yet to respond to letter seeking aid, says IMA


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