196 doctors in India died fighting against COVID-19 pandemic

 Health workers in India demanding better protection and safety equipment


The Indian Medical Association (IMA) says 196 doctors have died of COVID-19 so far while over 1,600 have been infected by COVID-19. IMA has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting adequate care for physicians and their families.

Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in terms of the percentage of doctors who died after getting infected to coronavirus. While the overall fatality rate of doctors who died of COVID-19 stood at 8 per cent, Maharashtra's percentage is at 20.

According to IMA National COVID registry data, of the total 1,302 doctors infected with COVID-19, 196 have succumbed to the disease. Of those dead, 73 were above the age of 50 years, 19 in the age-group of 35-50 and seven below 35 years, the data showed.

"IMA declares RED ALERT to doctors and medical administrators to raise their guard. If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals," the doctors' body said in a statement.

The IMA strongly advocated the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices. This requires intense review and updating of all administrative set ups in the hospitals, including infection control protocols. Any gap in providing for the safety of doctors, nurses and staff have to be plugged, it said in the statement.

A feedback system from the doctors, employees and public is needs to be put in place. Cleaning and sanitising protocols should be meticulously adhered to, the IMA said.

"Analysis of data shows that while senior and young doctors are equally infected with COVID-19, mortality is higher among elders. While this is on expected lines, there is scope for lessening deaths across the age spectrum.

National President of IMA Dr Rajan Sharma said that while the medical profession remains the beacon of hope for the nation to lead the exit from the pandemic, COVID-19 death among doctors has become a matter of great concern.

"IMA strongly advocates the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices. Doctors need to take charge of the situation and ensure the safety of themselves, their families, their colleagues and staff."

Working hours should be tempered by concerns of safety. Providing for personal protection equipment (PPEs), training, physical distancing and sanitisers should be monitored on daily basis. Operation theaters, labour rooms, laboratories and casualties require special care. Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and Critical Care Units (CCU) deserve close scrutiny for adherence to best practices and protocols," Secretary General of IMA Dr RV Asokan said.


 The Health Ministry on Sunday recorded nearly 64,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 2,153,010. At least 628,747 patients are still undergoing treatment. India also recorded 861 fatalities, driving the death toll to 43,379.

India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June and has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2 percent is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.

Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease has spread widely across the country.

                                                            Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor



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