The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him for his attention amid the coronavirus pandemic after 196 doctors, mostly general practitioners, have succumbed to COVID-19 so far.
"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.
Since, people consult the general practitioners due to fever and its related symptoms, they remain the first point of contact as well as care, the doctors' body said.
In the letter, the IMA requested PM Modi 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.
Dr Rajan Sharma, National President IMA said that the body represents over 3.5 lakh doctors spread across the country. He said that the virus does not differentiate between government and the private sector. "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," he added.
Dr R V Asokan, IMA Secretary-General, said the mortality rate among doctors due to COVID-19 has reached an "alarming proposition" now. He said that saving the lives of doctors will ensure the safety of thousands of patients who depend on them.
"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.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu has recorded the highest number of doctors' deaths due to COVID-19, IMA said. Maharashtra and Gujarat recorded 23 doctors' deaths each. Bihar and West Bengal have lost 19 and 16 doctors respectively.
(With ANI inputs)