The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said 382 doctors had lost their lives while battling COVID-19, in a strongly worded letter that slammed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for stating in Parliament that it did not maintain records of COVID-19 deaths of frontline healthcare workers.
The national association of allopathic doctors admonished Dr. Harsh Vardhan for not mentioning the number of healthcare workers who died due to COVID-19 in his address to the Lok Sabha. Labelling the Minister to be indifferent to the woes of the healthcare workers, the association said that India had lost the highest number of doctors and healthcare workers.
The IMA also rebuked the Health Ministry for not providing details on healthcare workers in the Rajya Sabha on September 15 . "Not having insurance compensation data amounts to the abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people," the IMA said.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health, in written replies to two questions asking about the number of COVID-19 deaths in health workers, said that the Centre was not responsible for maintaining the number of deaths. Binoy Viswam from the CPI and Ravi Prakash Verma from the Samajwadi Party asked the Ministry for these details.
However, Choubey further added that the Ministry had received around 155 claims under the 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package.' This scheme provides an insurance coverage of 50 lakh to the kin of the health workers who succumbed to COVID-19 when on COVID-19 duty.
The IMA further stated that not maintaining records is irresponsible on the part of the government and felt that the Centre is 'abdicating its duty'.
"If the Government doesn't maintain the statistics of total number of doctors and health care 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," read the statement.
Earlier, the IMA had asked the Ministry to consider healthcare workers as akin to soldiers. Reiterating this in the letter, the association demanded that these workers be acknowledged and treated as martyrs. The IMA also published a list of Indian doctors who died during the pandemic due to Covid 19.
382 doctors lose battle against COVID-19
The IMA shared a list of 382 doctors who succumbed to COVID-19. Their list only includes allopathic doctors.
Dr. R.V Ashokan, Secretary General of the IMA told BOOM that the government needs to collate similar lists from nursing associations, AYUSH councils, and other representatives of healthcare worker unions.
A 24-year-old MBBS doctor from Haryana is the youngest to have died due to COVID-19, while an 88- year-old Professor of Surgery from Karnataka is the oldest.
Tamil Nadu, with 63 deaths, reported the highest number of doctors who died due to COVID-19.
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