PPE Crisis : Who will listen to plight of India's junior doctors, interns & paramedics ?
Photo Credit: For representational purpose only
With the increasing cases and fear of future epidemic of Covid-19 in a country, the Indian Government puts the entire nation under lockdown as a preventive measure against it but our
health care professionals are working day and night to save our countrymen.
While we sit and relax at our homes with all the necessary precautions, the Doctors and Nurses are battling intensively in the front lines without the proper security and protection.
Though PM claimed that we are ready to fight against Corona but on ground reports from the frontline warriors are quite disturbing.
The most vulnerable group of population at the time of this pandemic are our Health Care Professionals. Lack of medical equipment and facilities for medical workers treating the
patients of Covid-19 shows how well our government is handling this serious outbreak of disease.
Even after multiple requests by the officials for the supply of adequate PPE (Personal
Protective Equipment) to all the medical professionals, co-workers, and interns, the government seems to be a deaf to their requests which is not just bringing their moral low but also putting them at risk. Expressing the seriousness of this issue, Dr Kamna Kakkar of
“When they arrive, send them to our graves.” The tweet became viral & a series of acute shortage was reported from all corners of the country thereafter.
Doctors from various hospitals and medical colleges have urged the authorities and the government to provide them with proper PPE and for the implementation of the guidelines
for the health care workers.
The Resident Doctor’s Association of J.N Medical College Hospital, AMU, Aligarh has requested multiple times to the vice chancellor of the university to reduce the number of people visiting JNMCH and to provide all the residents and workers with masks and
accessories to deal with the current situation but still they are not being provided with proper
PPE. It has also warned the administration that it will use its democratic rights if they didn’t
respond and ask its residents to “self-quarantine” at home from 20th March. The same was also reported from KGMU, Lucknow also where there is acute shortage of 3 ply masks & prprotective gears. In a letter accessed to us dated 27 March, Chief Medical Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital has asked junior residents, paramedical and nursing staff along with 3rd and 4th class employees to donate their one day salary for the purchase of masks. This itself is a grim situation.
The another case which has further increased the fear of exposure to virus among the doctors
is of Nalanda Medical College, Patna, Bihar where 83 P.G Doctors have been exposed to Covid-19 from treating the virus positive patients and have been asked for self-quarantine for
a period of 15 days on showing its symptoms. The Junior Doctor Association has requested
the officials to issue further guidelines to cope with the present situation.
Also, in Orissa, the RDA of S.C.B Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, has made similar requests to the officials. They demanded the immediate shutdown of OPD and other
non-essential services, to set up proper counselling centres to disperse these non-emergency patients to decrease patient load and overcrowding in hospitals and to supply adequate Covid-
19 kits to all doctors and health care professionals and to prioritise covid related services (Screening and Testing) and to ensure provision of food materials and other essential
commodities to the doctors in case of lockdown.
In response to NMCH, Patna case, RDA of Amritsar, Punjab and Doctors of Maharashtra has also complaint of shortage of PPE for the doctors and fear of food and water crisis for doctors
in near future due to lockdown of canteen and mess services.
In wake of the Nalanda Medical College case, the United Resident and Doctor’s Association
of India has requested the PM Narendra Modi to intervene in the situations the health care professionals are facing. The letter also addressed the recent issues of eviction of health care
professionals from their residence by the landlords all over the nation.
They have requested PM to pass strict orders to all government hospitals, private hospitals and medical colleges to provide essential safety equipment to all those who are working in
hospital. It should be noted that 2 Doctors are already infected in Telangana due to improper PPE. A
42 years old male doctor, resident of Domalguda, Hyderabad was found to be positive. His
contacts are his wife, mother, father and 2 kids. Wife is also positive. Mother is negative.
Reports of father and kids are still awaited. 4 persons from the same Yashoda Hospital are
kept under strict home quarantine.
In Chennai, Director and Superintendent of Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has in
turn asked the doctors to protect themselves and have PPE on their own.
Senior IMA leader & it's ex. President Dr. KK Agarwal said " We have been repeatedly asking government to provide adequate protective equipment to the healthcare workers & it's their responsibility to arrange it at earliest"
A PIL in Gujarat high court on Thursday sought directions to the state government to ensure enough stock for personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for health workers and doctors for their health while fighting novel coronavirus spread.
The PIL was filed by former member of the parliament and a practicing doctor, Prabhaben Taviad, through advocate Raturaj Meena seeking proper protection and facilities against infection for health workers who are in the frontline in stopping the pandemic.
More or less , the condition is same in almost all medical institutions of the country with healthcare workers at the greater risk of exposure to infection. It's high time that government must address the issue at war level and ensure safety of health workers specifically junior doctors and interns , who are at forefront in screening suspected cases. Our medical bench strength must be protected at any cost and we cannot afford to lose this great asset of the nation. With lack of resources , the fears of revolt looms large and our fight against this corona battle will get weaker as we will be sending an army without the weapons.
With this grim situations prevailing over those who are the real heroes for us at this time, will
we actualy be able to defeat Covid-19?
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