Only one doctor’s kin have got compensation, while the rest are awaiting
Amid the surge of COVID-19 positive cases in Bihar, where the lack of doctors, nurses, paramedics, oxygen and bed in hospitals has regularly been hitting the headlines, family members of only one of 120 doctors who have so far died due to the pandemic have got government compensation.
The Bihar chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has submitted a memorandum to the State government several times for compensation to be paid to the family members of the other 119 doctors too but “the government is yet to respond”.
The doctors, nurses and paramedics were declared as frontline workers.
The Central government had earlier announced a compensation of ₹50 lakh compensation to the family members of a doctor who succumbed to COVID-19 infection. Similarly, the State government too had announced amount of ₹4 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of the deceased doctor.
In 14 months of the pandemic period, as many as 120 doctors have lost their lives till May 14 in the State, of whom 42 succumbed to the infection in the first wave last year and 78 during the ongoing second wave of the disease this year.
Family members of Avinash Kumar, who was the first doctor to die due to COVID-19 infection in the State in June 2020, too are still waiting for the compensation.
“Out of all family members, only those of Rati Raman Jha, who was civil surgeon of Samastipur have got the compensation, while approval for the same has been given to family members of five other doctors who had succumbed to the infection but the rest are still awaiting”, former IMA president, Bihar chapter and member of the central working committee, Dr. Sacchidanand told The Hindu.
He further said that the IMA had written to the State government for compensation to family members of deceased doctors and other facilities to the working doctors “several times but we’re yet to get any response of any of our letters from the State government”.
The association has also demanded that the State government should raise the compensation amount from ₹4 lakh to ₹20-25 lakh at least for the family members of deceased doctors in COVID-19 pandemic time.
“It appears both the Central and State governments have forgotten the services rendered by the doctors in this adverse condition whom they have declared as frontline workers. Such a move by governments in delaying compensation to the family certainly demoralises working doctors”, added Dr. Sacchidanand.
“In several hospitals, doctors have been working for long hours while being away from their family to treat COVID-19 patients but when they die, the government prefers to forget what it has announced earlier for their family”, rued Atul Verma of Hajipur.
“It is stressful”, he added.
Bihar, so far, has reported 6,37,679 positive cases in the State with 89,563 active cases till May 14. However, 3,670 people have died in the State with 85.63% recovery rate. The State’s recover rate, though, has showed improvement on May 14 by 1.23% from 84.15% on May 13.
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