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It's high time we learnt to respect doctors, boosted their morale

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It’s high time we learnt to respect doctors, boosted their morale

Highlights

Till now around 200 medical professionals, including senior doctors have also contracted the virus while treating the patients. Most of them got back to duty after recovery and this shows their commitment towards their profession and job at the time of pandemic.

Till now around 200 medical professionals, including senior doctors have also contracted the virus while treating the patients. Most of them got back to duty after recovery and this shows their commitment towards their profession and job at the time of pandemic. In Hyderabad, Osmania General Hospital Superintendent and Chest Hospital Superintendent too were among those who got infected and there were numerous young medical post-graduate students who contracted the virus while on duty in various hospitals across the State. Recovered they too are reporting back at the duty. While the governments are organising symbolic programmes like clapping for the warriors and showering flower petals on them by the Indian Air Force in recognition of their brave and selfless services during the pandemic, some unscrupulous elements are repeatedly targeting the doctors for the things like infrastructure and other facilities which are essentially not within their purview.

Even as thousands of medical staff including doctors, nurses, lab technicians and a whole lot of paramedics are working day in and day out to treat Covid-19 patients and contain the pandemic, risking their lives, the kin of the affected and even people in their own neighbourhood are turning increasingly hostile towards these frontline warriors in the battle against the killer virus. Hundreds of them, in the process, have already contracted the virus and some have already succumbed to the microbe.

The series of unsavoury incidents happening against the doctors need urgent remedy. The incidents of assaults and spreading of false news and blaming the doctors for all that is happening in hospitals are unwarranted and will go against the spirit of our united fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

Doctors are the first among the frontline warriors in the fight against the pandemic. Especially in countries like India, where the infrastructure and qualified medical professionals are scarce, we need to respect the doctors for all the good that they are doing within the limitations of the system.

Unable to bear the negative publicity and constant blame game, the Superintendent of Nizamabad hospital has resigned to his post and similarly, many more are trying to get themselves out of the responsibility.

This is not because that they were not able to do justice to their role, but largely unable to take the blame for things which were not in their hands. The low morale of the doctors and lack of support for them do not augur well in our fight against the pandemic.

The doctors in government hospitals are working in perilous conditions to offer their services to treat the poor and middleclass Covid-19 patients, who are unable to afford prohibitively huge costs of treatment in private corporate hospitals, where the treatment cost is running into a million rupees.

Till now around 200 medical professionals, including senior doctors have also contracted the virus while treating the patients. Most of them got back to duty after recovery and this shows their commitment towards their profession and job at the time of pandemic.

In Hyderabad, Osmania General Hospital Superintendent and Chest Hospital Superintendent too were among those who got infected and there were numerous young medical post-graduate students who contracted the virus while on duty in various hospitals across the State. Recovered they too are reporting back at the duty.

While the governments are organising symbolic programmes like clapping for the warriors and showering flower petals on them by the Indian Air Force in recognition of their brave and selfless services during the pandemic, some unscrupulous elements are repeatedly targeting the doctors for the things like infrastructure and other facilities which were essentially not within their purview.

India is having one doctor for every 1,457 people as against the World Health Organisation's recommended number of having one doctor for every 1,000 population. There are little less than 9.5 lakh Allopathic doctors available for active service in the country of a 1.3 billion population.

In terms of the availability of the nursing and other auxiliary staff, the nurse: population ratio in India is only 1:675 as against the World Health Organisation's recommended ratio of 3:1,000.

We are having less number of doctors and nursing staff as against the recommended norm by the WHO.

The country is also producing less number of medical graduates and post-graduates annually with lesser number of medical colleges compared to our population.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, in its report (2016-18) on the status of medical education pointed out that at present, there were only 472 medical colleges in the country, out of which 212 in government sector and 260 in private sector with an annual admission capacity of 65,183 MBBS and 26, 450 post-graduate students.

The Parliamentary Committee has also recommended for the immediate increase in the number of medical seats at UG and PG level to meet the manpower requirements in the field of medical and health field.

Similarly, Telangana, with four crore population, is only producing less than 4,000 medical graduates annually. This is very low number to meet the present needs alone and forget about the future needs.

This clearly explains how the country and the States are grappling with the regular medical services with the shortage of medical and nursing professionals and one can imagine how is the system struggling to cope with the onslaught of the pandemic that turns thousands of people patients at a time.

And given the huge number of vacancies in government hospitals and medical colleges, the ratio further comes down drastically. There is already overburden on the medical professionals in terms of physical fatigue and psychological and societal stress.

Many doctors are being put under lot of pressure from their families and others concerned about their daily venturing into the Covid-19 dedicated hospitals and other hospitals where they are exposed to lot of risk.

They are almost living a secluded life from their families and in most instances, doctors are living in hostel facilities offered by the hospitals so as not to risk their families.

The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the lacunae in many areas and in medical and health system as well, it is time that the governments gear up in essential sectors like medical and health and augment the infrastructure and recruit manpower and increase the medical seats at various UG, PG and super speciality levels.

In these times of pandemic, for the services that the doctors are rendering, the least we can do is to respect, protect and salute them.

(The writer is Assistant Professor in Mass Communication and Journalism, Telangana University, Nizamabad)

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