NEW DELHI: Last week, more than 100 doctors from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital were sent to quarantine after two patients tested positive for the COVID-19. Another private hospital Maharaja Agrasen has sent around 80 of its staffs to isolation. The Delhi State Cancer Institute also had to close its OPD for a day to sensitise the hospital and ask staffs self-quarantine.
In the past few weeks with the rise of novel coronavirus cases, approximately 30 medical staffs, including doctors, nurses and sanitation staffs, have contradicted of the virus. Amongst the first was a Mohalla Clinic doctor from Maujpur who was discharged on Sunday. But why are the representatives from the medical fraternity in the state falling prey to the deadly virus?
Dr Harjit Bhatti, president of the Progressive Medicos & Scientists Forum (PMSF) said one of the prime reasons is the lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits with health officials. “Secondly, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is denying community spread keeping all healthcare facilities into darkness because many patients with symptoms are not tested or treated or have been isolated.
Thirdly, hospitals are divided into COVID-19 area and non-COVID-19 areas, and only those doctors who are looking after the virus-infected patients are given proper PPE kits, the rest were not and only advised to wear masks. Though hospitals are called infection pumps all over the world, and if healthcare workers have to visit hospitals daily, then they have to get proper kits,” he added. Dr Satendra Singh from University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University and the founder of Doctors with Disabilities, said while the healthcare personnel are aware of how to protect themselves, it is lack of reciprocity from the government in their right to avail PPEs is hampering this frontline workforce.
“The numbers will only increase as we have failed to balance demand and supply. This has to be addressed at a war-footing to flatten the curve,” he added. In Delhi, most of the positive cases amongst the healthcare workers have come from those hospitals which were not to take COVID-19 patients.