India has witnessed an exponential increase in the COVID-19 cases post lockdown, uncovering the facade of an imbecile administration. During this crisis, we have seen doctors criticizing the government for the lack of PPE kits, face masks, delays in salary payments, the safety of the healthcare workers from public assault, among many other issues raised by the fraternity. Several instances of Doctors being sacked have surfaced in the past months if they would expose the mismanagement of the authorities. Therefore it has become significant that every individual citizen should take on himself the responsibility to save our already crippled healthcare system from a complete breakdown.
Doctors went on strike demanding better support from the government in Telangana. Credit: NDTV
Last week, The Indian Medical Association(IMA) issued a “red alert” notice for the safety of medico and medical administrators, who are involved in the coronavirus containment efforts stating that 99 doctors have succumbed to the virus till date. Meanwhile, in India, the number of positive cases has crossed a million mark with over 26 thousand plus fatalities. In number, the death of 99 doctors seems to be negligible but we must understand the implications of these negligible fatalities.
Ashwini Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare stated in Rajya sabha, that there are about 11 lakh allopathic doctors registered with the State Medical Councils and the Medical Council of India (MCI) as on 31 December 2017, which means that for every 1,565 Indians, there is 1 doctor while according to WHO norms the average doctor to patient ratio must be 1:1000. So in a country where there exists already an extravagant deficit of doctors, we can’t afford to lose them as the health problems other then COVID-19 are still prevalent.
To quote the IMA president Dr Ranjan Sharma, “Senior doctors who are decision-makers for the institutions have enhanced responsibility of taking care of their flock. Friendly and scientific batch posting needs to be implemented,” adding he said, “If COVID mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals. This requires intense review and updating of all administrative setups in the hospitals including the infection control protocols…”.
According to IMA National COVID registry data, 1,302 doctors have contracted the disease so far including the 99, who eventually fell to the disease. 73 of the deceased doctors were above the age of 50 years, while 19 were in the age group of 35-50 and the remaining seven were below 35 years, as per the registry data cited by PTI.
With our fragile healthcare system, we ought to understand the real magnitude of this pandemic crisis. While institutions highlight the fact that the mortality rate for coronavirus is merely 2.2 % in general public but for doctors, this mortality lies at a staggering 6.6% which is three times more than that of the general patients.
The Indian population seems to be extraordinarily ignorant toward the gravity of this pandemic crisis. The preventive measures are often disregarded wondering that the coronavirus is a general thing now! Repeatedly the doctors are emanating open letters to warn people about the true nature of the crisis explaining the need for thoroughly adopting the preventive measures and asking cooperation from the people to remain as vigil as possible to get over this reign of horror.
The preventive measures such as social distancing, masks, staying indoors and sanitization might come out as a frustrating experience but stakes are too high. Record high cases are registered every day further pressuring an already crumbling health system. So, if we objectively look into the global situation of COVID-19, we are on the losing side in this war.
With the onset of the monsoon season, the influx of flu-like disease is bound to burden an already overworked healthcare system of the country. With an already prevalent aura of fear of coronavirus, the treatment for these diseases will put incremental pressure on doctors and healthcare workers.
We have shown our allegiance to the doctors with taali, thaali, and showering of flowers but now we need to show our allegiance to them through ideology as well, which is to meticulously adopt every safety measures until the crisis is over.
A report published by UNICEF last month predicted nearly 8,81,000 children will die in the next twelve months as an indirect consequence of COVID-19 and the high mortality rate of doctors could one of the most drastic contributing factors to this prediction.
While in another UN Report, about 14 million children have been deprived of vaccination this year, and two-thirds of these children are from Africa and Southeast Asia.
All these indirect fatalities will be the repercussion of the exhaustion of healthcare resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr. Taha Mateen makes a passionate plea to Doctors to join him to fight the Covid-19. credit: The news minute
We might call doctors as an incarnation of Gods but in the end, they are only human, just like everyone, they too have families, loved ones and a breaking point. With no certain cure in the foreseeable future, it is of utmost importance we show solidarity to them because if they turned their back on us than even God can’t help us.