Aster DM Healthcare has announced that it will pay monthly basic salary for 10 years to the families of its doctors, nurses and other enabling staff who have died due to COVID-19, becoming the latest company to provide financial assistance to employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals have been at the frontline of the battle against COVID-19, attending to India's crushing load of more than 2.83 crore cases since the pandemic began.
"Our dedicated staff have been the real heroes in this battle against COVID-19, who put the needs of the patients ahead of their own lives," the company's founder chairman and managing director Dr Azad Moopen said.
The healthcare chain, which has operations in India and Middle East, said over 5,150 employees of its more than 20,000-strong workforce have been affected by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
A majority of them have recovered and resumed work, but five of the infected employees have succumbed to COVID-19 till date, the NSE-listed company said in a statement.
"They have unfortunately left behind young families with wives, children and ageing parents. Many of those who died were the sole bread winners for their families," Moopen said.
The chain, which has a network of hospitals, diagnostic centres, medical centres and pharmacies, said the policy is applicable to employees in India and the Middle East. It also applies to "those who may succumb, God forbid, to the disease in the future", the company said.
Healthcare workers have been treating patients at great personal risk in long and gruelling shifts as India battled a crumbling medical infrastructure in addition to the mutating coronavirus. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said at least 594 doctors have died in the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country so far. It pegged the overall number of doctors who have died in the line of duty fighting COVID-19 ever since the pandemic began last year at nearly 1,300.
Many private firms have rushed to support their employees amidst the second wave of pandemic. The severity of the spread has also forced companies to come up with multipronged approach to help employees, including providing financial assistance.
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