After the Health Ministry said this week that the centre does not maintain data of healthcare workers who died due to Covid-19, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has published a list of 382 doctors who died due to the disease and demanded that they be treated as “martyrs”.
When asked about the number of healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, support staff and ASHA workers, who died from Covid, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said on Tuesday that health is a state subject and such data is not maintained at Central level by the Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare.
“However, database of those seeking relief under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package’ is maintained at national level,” he said and added that relatives of 155 healthcare workers sought relief under the package.
IMA called Choubey’s statement an “abdication of duty and abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people”.
“The IMA finds it strange that after having formulated an unfriendly partial insurance scheme for the bereaved families to struggle with the ignominy of the government disowning them altogether stares at them,” it said, according to PTI.
According to the medical body’s data on 16 September, as many as 2,238 doctors were infected with the disease and of them 382 lost their lives, a senior official of the doctors’ body was quoted as saying by PTI.
“To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable,” the medical body said and added that “if the government doesn’t maintain the statistics of the total number of doctors and healthcare workers infected by Covid-19 and the statistics of how many of them sacrificed their life due to the pandemic, it loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act 1897 and the Disaster Management Act.”
IMA said that this “exposes the hypocrisy” of calling healthcare workers corona warriors on one hand and denying them and their families the status and benefits of martyrdom.
Opposition leaders have slammed the government over its response. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Friday that doctors’ families should be compensated and a national fund should be set up to help the families of all medical personnel who died fighting Covid.
He also questioned the government over the lack of data.
(With PTI inputs)