The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over incidents of assaults on several doctors by the kin of patients in the last few days. The IMA sought PM Modi's personal intervention to resolve its pleas to ensure "optimum milieu" for medical professionals to work without fear.
"Any person(s) who spreads misinformation against the vaccination drive which is meant to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, must be booked and punished in accordance with law including under the relevant provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act, 2005. All such acts of omission and commission on behalf of any person raising doubts in the minds of the common public against the protocol guidance issued by the Ministry of Health for treatment of COVID-19 infected patients - ought to be suitably punished and simultaneously, any attempt of any person to fool the gullible public and promote so-called "magic remedies" or "wonder drugs" without the approval of the Ministry of Health, Government of India - ought to be immediately curtailed," the letter reads.
IMA also requested that in 'The Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019', which seeks to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals by imposing a jail term of up to 10 years - which ought to be promulgated immediately along with the incorporation of provisions from the IPC/CrPC and with stipulations for a fixed time schedule for speedy conclusion of trials.
IMA said that all those involved in such heinous crimes ought to be punished so as to create an effective deterrent for other anti-social elements who may indulge in attacking any health care professionals.
"The doctors who have lost their lives in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be recognised as COVID MARTYRS with due acknowledgment of their sacrifice. Their families ought to be duly supported by the government. We thank you for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme under which insurance benefits are being extended to such families, however, we wish to bring to your kind notice that due to various obstacles in the procedural implementation of the Scheme, out of 754 doctors who had lost their lives in the first wave, families of only 168 Doctors have been able to apply under this scheme," the letter said.
IMA further requested PM Modi to create an effective mechanism for identifying and verifying all these victims through the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) and also ensure that the support will be given to all the said families as solatium at their doorsteps.
The medicos' body requested that Government should promote universal free vaccination to all above 18 years of age without leaving the vaccines to the extent of 50 per cent to the states and private hospitals and said, "We believe that only when a strong leader like you leads this programme, the full benefit shall reach out to all people." IMA also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up a separate research cell to study these post-COVID-19 complications in detail and to come out with multi-faceted treatment guidelines in all disciplines of Medicine.
In the letter, the IMA said that it has decided to organise a 'National Protest Day' on June 18 in pursuance of these demands. "IMA has decided to continue to seek your intervention on the above issues and also organise various intellectual meets, dailogues, and finally the 'National Protest Day' on June 18 to secure a smooth, cooperative and optimum milieu for Modern health care professionals which will enable them to work with much more compassion and dedication and without any fear of mental or physical harm," medicos' body said in the letter.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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