Stress Drives Coronavirus doctor to Suicide
Probe Ordered Into Doc’s Death; 816 BBMP staff contract virus
Bengaluru: A 43-year old government doctor on coronavirus duty died of suicide in Mysuru district in Karnataka with some of his colleagues alleging he was under work pressure.
The state government said an inquiry has been ordered into the death of the doctor and advised those battling the virus not to succumb to any pressure.
According to police, Taluk Health Officer Dr S R Nagendra was found hanging at his quarters in Alanahalli where he had been staying alone.
Nagendra's family was residing in another area in Mysuru district and he chose to stay alone out of fear of contracting the virus and spreading it, they said. Some of his colleagues alleged there was intense work pressure on him as he had been on COVID-19 duty.
Mourning his death, state Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar in a series of tweets also advised the corona warriors not to succumb to any pressure and share their problems with their superiors.
The Minister said being a doctor himself, he understood the pressure under which the medical professionals work.
State Health Minister B Sriramulu too mourned the death and said he is getting every detail of the incident.
I have ordered an inquiry into the case. Anyone found guilty will not be spared. There is no need for people to panic, Sriramulu tweeted.
They are the frontline warriors, the backbone of the waste management system. They keep the city clean, but live and work under sub-humane conditions. They are in the forefront in the fight against the pandemic, but the warriors are often sent without the necessary arsenal to combat Covid-19. With the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic showing no signs of abating, sanitation workers and manual scavengers are at an increased risk of exposure.
In what can be shocking, around 816 'poura karmikas' of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in Bengaluru tested positive for Covid-19. In a written submission to the Karnataka High Court, the BBMP stated that 11,902 rapid antigen tests and 3,872 RT-PCR tests were conducted on 'pourakarmikas', including supervisors, helpers and drivers involved in solid waste management in the city. According to the report submitted by the BBMP, 423 out of 816 workers who tested positive were hospitalised, 341 workers received treatment in Covid Care Centres, while 52 are in home isolation. In the past, the 'pourakarmikas' in the city protested against the lack of adequate safety gear such as PPE kits or N95 masks. The face masks and gloves provided by the government was of substandard quality.
The 'pourakarmikas' who were symptomatic and tested negative in the rapid antigen test were asked to take the confirmatory RT-PCR test, BBMP stated. The civic body revealed that there was a delay in conducting rapid antigen tests in the city's South Zone. More RT-PCR tests were conducted in the South Zone. BBMP claims those who test negative can continue with their work as they will be provided with PPE kits, masks and gloves.
With a growing number of 'pourakarmikas' contracting the infection, BBMP has proposed to allow pregnant women workers and those above 50 to take leave with pay.