The letter, written on Monday by Dr JA Jayalal, national president and Dr Jayesh Lele, honorary secretary general of IMA, said: “In the midst of this pandemic, we are also deeply hurt to see the increasing incidents of physical violence against the doctors and the health care professionals in this country.”
“The brutal assault on our young doctor in Assam and the assault on lady doctors and even on veteran practitioners across the country – are really causing mental trauma amongst the practitioners,” it added.
The Indian Medical Association mentioned in the letter that during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, the entire medical fraternity, right from day one, has lost “more than 1400 of its proactive veterans and dynamic younger ones as martyrs in this war against COVID19”.
The association also raised the issue of “continuing attempts of certain people to propagate the disbelief and misinformation in relation to the vaccines and the evidence based scientific protocols of modern medicine released from time to time by Union health ministry with the guidance of ICMR and Covid19 Task Force.
The association said many young doctors have lost their lives while serving thousands of people.
“There are cases where both husband and wife being doctors have lost their lives, leaving behind their children as orphans. IMA is maintaining a registry of all such cases, and we periodically submit these details to the authorities seeking recognition and support for these families,” the IMA stated.
With an appeal to personally intervene and resolve their long-pending pleas, the IMA urged PM Modi that “any person(s) who spreads misinformation against the vaccination drive, which is meant to fight the COVID19 pandemic, must be booked and punished in accordance with law.”
Such persons should punished under the relevant provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act, 2005, it said.
The association also demanded that “any person raising doubts in the minds of the common public against the protocol guidance issued by ministry of health for treatment of COVID19 infected patients — ought to be suitable punished and simultaneously”.
It also said any attempt of any person to fool the gullible public and promote so-called “magic remedies” or “wonder drugs” without the approval of the Union health ministry “ought to be immediately curtailed”.
The association urged the PM to promulgate the Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, which seeks to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals by imposing a jail term of up to 10 years.
It said the bill, which apparently was “dismissed by the Union home ministry during an inter-ministerial consultation over the draft law”, should be promulgated immediately along with the incorporation of provisions from the IPC/CrPC and with stipulations for a fixed time schedule for speedy conclusion of trials.
“All those involved in such heinous crimes ought to be punished so as to also create an effective deterrent for other antisocial elements who may indulge in attacking any health care professionals,” the IMA said.
The IMA also demanded that the doctors, who have lost their lives in the war against the COVID19 pandemic, be recognised as ‘COVID martyrs’ and their families be duly supported by the government.
IMA written Letter to Honourable Prime Minister of India.
dt. 07.06.2021 pic.twitter.com/JKkQ4HpZdr
— Indian Medical Association (@IMAIndiaOrg) June 7, 2021
Thanking Modi for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme, the IMA alleged that “out of 754 doctors, who had lost their lives in the first wave, families of only 168 doctors have been able to apply under this scheme”.
The IMA also requested the PM to create an effective mechanism for identifying and verifying all such victims through the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI).
The medical association claimed “only .06 % of people, who have received both the doses of vaccine, got minimal infection by a coronavirus and very rarely did vaccinated people have any severe infection”.
“It is well proved, that by vaccination we can save our people and country from the catastrophic cascades of this severe infection,” it added.
The doctors’ body said post-COVID19 complications of lung fibrosis, increased thrombotic events and fungal infections are on the rise and “we need to get prepared for the same”.
The IMA appealled to PM Modi to set up a separate research cell to study the post-COVID19 complications in detail and to come out with multi-faceted treatment guidelines in all disciplines of medicine.