A total of 196 doctors in the country, majority of them being general practitioners, have succumbed to COVID-19 so far, said the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday, requesting the prime minister for his attention on the issue.
"As per the latest data collected by the IMA, our nation has lost 196 doctors, out of which 170 of them are above the age of 50 years, with general practitioners attributing to around 40 per cent of it," the IMA said expressing concerns over the safety of doctors losing their lives in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis.
While an increasing number of doctors are getting infected and losing their lives every day, substantial number of them have been found to be general practitioners. Since, significant proportion of the population consult general practitioner due to fever and its related symptoms, they remain the first point of contact as well as care, the doctors' body.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the IMA requested him to ensure adequate care for doctors and their families who are a special risk group and extend the state-sponsored medical and life insurance facilities to doctors in all the sectors. "The IMA represents over 3.5 lakh doctors spread across the country providing next door affordable healthcare, it is pertinent to mention that COVID-19 does not differentiate between government and private sector and affect all same.
"Further disturbing are the reports that state that the doctors and their family members are not getting beds for admission and deficiency of drugs in most of the cases. The IMA thus requests the government of India to provide adequate attention for the safety and welfare of doctors during the pandemic," said Dr Rajan Sharma, National President, IMA
Dr R V Asokan, Secretary General, IMA, said the mortality rate among doctors due to COVID-19 has reached an "alarming proposition" now. "Saving each and every life of a doctor will ensure safety of thousands of patients who depend on their care. Doctors who have died in line of their professional duty merit favourable consideration for succour and solace to their families. It is thus pertinent for the IMA to also draw your attention to the demoralising effect to our healthcare community," he said.