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An impending disaster is perhaps not appreciated by the authorities that be. It’s been more than 6 months that the same set of doctors and healthcare workers are working relentlessly in COVID-19 care, both directly and indirectly.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

It is to their credit and society’s fortune that they are working without any crib, protest or refusal. In our country as well as state, even vulnerable section of healthcare individuals, like aged 50 plus with or without co-morbidity, are working for months without break – except for mandatory quarantine, which technically is not a break.

Many have been infected, died, maimed due to the virus. Many family members have died or are suffering due to the virus brought home by the COVID warriors.

Mortality is disproportionately high among healthcare workers.

Still our brave warriors are fighting and no one is questioning.

Is it fair as well as safe? Tenacious as they are, but still they are humans with inherent break points. Even in long-standing wars and battles, set of soldiers change. And soldiers do not carry their families to the battle zone.

Isn’t it time that authorities look into this issue seriously?

Since there is no chance of COVID-19 scenario markedly improving in next six months, should the authorities not worry of sudden breakdown in the healthcare delivery system?

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The political class are generally myopic and cannot see beyond the next elections, but the administrative class has to make them aware.

We have a huge shortage of doctors in this country. And strangely we also have a huge number of foreign medical graduates who have failed to register in this country.

Is it not prudent to engage them in COVID work or other medical works, with restrictions? When society is a beggar in terms of doctors, how can it act choosers and seek uniform quality in doctors? Do you have uniform quality in other professions? Even professions directly linked to human safety? The common final exit exam is another stupid move by the government. It is like asking the small-town engineering college to appear in the same exam as IIT and perform equally!

Wake-up call! If doctors keep on getting sick, keep getting killed at present rate, a time shall come when doctors will simply stop medicine practice. Time to gradually induct new doctors even at the cost of academic quality (under supervision) and also think of importing doctors on short term work permits!

Time for policy makers to read the warning signs.

(Views expressed by the author are his own.)

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About Dr Navanil Barua


The author is a Guwahati-based neurosurgeon and political commentator.


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