Lucknow: A day after “Taali and Thali” event observed across India on Sunday evening to express gratitude to health workers amid corona scare on the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, doctors in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow have alleged that they have been working in Covid19 wards without any personal protection gear which may pose a threat to spread of the disease in the community.
The resident doctors of Uttar Pradesh’s apex medical institution, King George Medical Univ, a nodal centre for corona testing and treatment in Lucknow –have told the authorities that they were scared and experiencing emotional and psychological stress due to their poor working conditions.
In a letter to the Vice Chancellor of the University Dr ML Brahmbhatt, the resident doctors association stated on Monday, “Residents attending corona suspects are working without protective gear.
This may expose them to the virus and also community spread of covid-19.” As per the WHO guidelines, gloves, masks, eye protection, hazmat coverall suits – called personal protection equipment or PPE – are a mandatory requirement for all health workers testing or treating Covid-19 patients.
Doctors have urged the VC to urgently provide PPE for healthy working environment and for prevention of community spread. “We are scared of such working condition which is causing emotional and psychological stress to us.”
As per a viral video, some nurses in the State have also made similar complaints. “In fact, one resident doctor who was treating a corona patient at KGMU had caught infection last week. This has alerted us,” a doctor said.
The PPE costs around Rs 1,800 and are used just once and discarded, doctors told FPJ. With the influx of suspected cases from across the State, the PPE's demand has soared to approximately 100 a day which is allegedly not being met forcing many to work in normal clothes.
UP's Covid-19 tally was 31 on Monday with nine patients currently being treated at the hospital. Besides, samples from many districts are being sent here for diagnosis. KGMU PRO Dr Sudhir Singh denies the charges made by the resident doctors. He insists that the University is indeed following guidelines of ICMR.
"The residents are in panic just like many others. Hence, we have explained them that we are following ICMR guidelines and they would be provided with masks and other gears as per the type of work. Those who collect samples are given N95 masks, others don't need it."
Doctors working in several government hospitals across UP have also raised similar concerns. Health workers across India are putting their lives at risk to fight the coronavirus disease as the State governments have not procured enough number of gears so far even as the disease have been declared as epidemic by most States including Uttar Pradesh.
Even medical students of Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, Thane, who have been tasked to handle corona suspects wards, haven't been given any PPE.
“The college has just one PPE. We are scared to the core but there is no way to skip the duty,” a medical intern told FPJ.