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IMA Writes to PM, Flags Assault on Doctors, Vaccine Misinformation

The IMA announced that National Protest Day will be observed on 18 June to secure an optimum milieu for doctors.

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
Doctors hold placards as they protest against the mishandling of Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati in Guwahati. Image used for representational purposes.
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The Indian Medical Association (IMA) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, 7 June, requesting his personal intervention to resolve IMA's pleas, in order to ensure an optimum environment for medical professionals to work without fear.

The IMA expressed their anguish over attempts by certain people who propagate disbelief and spread misinformation in relation to vaccines and evidence-based scientific protocols of modern medicine.

The letter also comes amid several attacks on doctors who have remained vulnerable not just to the virus but also to attacks from relatives of dying or deceased COVID patients.

“With the continuous and ongoing physical and mental assault on our doctors,” the IMA appealed to the Prime Minister with the following pleas:

  1. The IMA demanded that any person who spreads misinformation against the vaccination drive must be booked and punished in accordance with law, including under the relevant provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

    Moreover, the IMA added that any attempt of any person to fool the gullible public and promote so-called “magic remedies” or “wonder drugs” without the approval of the Health Ministry ought to be immediately curtailed.
  2. The IMA also demanded the Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (prohibition of violence and damage to property) Bill 2019 to be promulgated immediately in order to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals. The Bill imposes a jail term of up to 10 years, which the IMA believes will deter such attacks.

    Apparently, the had IMA said the Bill was “dismissed by the Home Ministry during an interministerial consultation over the draft law.”
  3. “The doctors who have lost their lives in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be recognised as COVID Martyrs with due acknowledgement of this sacrifice,” the IMA said in its letter. Thanking PM Modi for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme, under which insurance benefits were extended to doctor’s families, the medical body noted that out of the 754 doctors who lost their lives in the first wave, only 168 doctors’ families have been able to apply under the scheme.

    The IMA requested Modi to create an effective mechanism and ensure that this support shall be given to all such families.
  4. Emphasising the importance of vaccination, the IMA said, “It is gratifying to note that only .06 percent of people who have received both the vaccine doses got minimal infection by coronavirus.”

    Further, the IMA demanded that the government should promote “universal free vaccine to all above 18 years of age without leaving the vaccines to the extent of 50 percent to the states and private hospitals.”
  5. The IMA also appealed to Modi to set up a separate research cell to study post-COVID complications, like lung fibrosis, increased thrombotic events, and fungal infections, in order to come up with multifaceted treatment guidelines in all disciplines of medicine.
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With a rise in attacks on doctors, the IMA also announced that they will be observing 18 June as the National Protest Day to secure a “smooth, cooperative and optimum milieu for modern healthcare professionals” in order to enable doctors to work without any fear of mental or physical harm.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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