The AHSD has pointed out that countless doctors and healthcare workers are getting infected every day and the number of deaths are piling up. Doctors are being forced to pay for their own treatment, which is unfair, it has been pointed out. “They are being left to fend for themselves while searching for beds. Many have been left bankrupt in the process,” said Manas Gumta, professor of general surgery and the general secretary of AHSD. Apart from Kolkata, they have demanded reserved beds for doctors and health workers in the Covid facilities in the districts as well.
Steps taken to protect doctors and ensure their safety have been far from sufficient, the forum has alleged. A statement issued by ASHD said emphasis was wrongly being placed on statistics based on tests in the green zone. “Testing, active surveillance and contact tracing in red zones and containment area are not happening as expected. As a result, wrong message of security is going to the people. To us, there is serious gap in following the public health guidelines. Health administration is shouldering off duty by advising home isolation for Covid patients. Even after six months of battle, the number of ventilators and oxygen beds in Covid hospitals are grossly inadequate. There have been reports of tragic and painful deaths due to lack of critical care beds at Covid hospitals in Kolkata and the adjoining districts,” said the statement.
United Doctors’ Welfare Association, another doctors’ body, recently launched an initiative titled ‘Protect the Warriors’, calling upon the state government to take measures to protect doctors from Covid and recognize their contribution in tackling the pandemic. It has called for a government job to the next of kin of health service doctors who succumb to Covid while treating patients. It has also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for families of all doctors who die from Covid. The latter should be conferred the title of a ‘Covid martyr’, it has also been demanded.