Mumbai: Do not charge more than Rs 100 for issuing medical certificates to migrant workers, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the more than 40,000 medical practitioners across the state.
Lakhs of labourers who are stranded in Mumbai due to the lockdown want to return to their hometowns and in order to be able to travel, they need medical certificates.
Smelling an opportunity to make profit during the pandemic, various clinics and dispensaries are charging them anywhere from Rs 300 to Rs 500 to provide these fitness certificates. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), issued a circular on Sunday, allowing all civic-run and private medical professionals to issue medical fitness certificates.
But the circular did not mention the fee to be charged per certificate. All registered medical practitioners practising in Mumbai can issue such certificates after obtaining the history and conducting a clinical examination of the person wishing to travel, ensuring that he/she does not have influenza-like symptoms, the circular states.
It takes only 10 minutes to issue a certificate, if doctors follow testing protocol, which includes an individual's health or travel history and their body temperature. Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, IMA, said during this pandemic situation everyone should come forward and help the needy.
They have asked all IMA members to be polite and charge Rs 100 or less for issuing medical fitness certificates to the migrants, ensuring they maintain social distancing during these exams. “We have directed more than 40,000 doctors across the state to screen as many people as they can and charge Rs 50 to Rs 100 for a medical certificate.
We have also urged them to not force migrants to pay if they do not have money,” he said. He further said, there is no clarity regarding the validation of the medical certificate in the circular issued on May 3.
There are more than seven lakh migrants in the city, eager to return to their respective hometowns. “It is not possible for all migrants to get health certificates on the same day. And even if they do get it, how is it validated?” Dr Bondwe questioned.
Doctors involved in screening migrants said most of the workers lined up outside civic dispensaries and hospitals had already been screened as suspected Covid-19 patients by the BMC. “Since this order has been issued, many have thronged to get certificates. It is also learnt most of them have already been screened as suspected Covid patients earlier,” said a doctor