The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over healthcare professionals being reportedly targeted for raising issues related to the availability of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits and quarantine facilities.
Condemning the targeting of medical workers on social media, the AIIMS RDA said such inputs should be viewed constructively and urged the government to consider creating a healthy space for debate and discussion to aid healthcare workers.
In the letter, the resident doctors lauded PM Modi’s strong leadership in handling COVID-19 pandemic and said the declaration of lockdown to allow the healthcare facilities and state administration to step up their preparedness was another welcome step.
“This is to bring to your notice that over the last few days, our frontline healthcare workers- doctors, nurses and other support staff- had come forward with their problems and issues related to availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID testing kits and quarantine facilities, on social media. The officials should view these inputs constructively,” AIIMS RDA president Adarsh Pratap Singh and general secretary Srinivas Rajkumar T, said in the letter.
“Instead of appreciating their efforts towards welfare of their peer and patients, they have received a harsh backlash. In the face of coronavirus pandemic, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that these ”soldiers” are heard and their opinion respected, rather than humiliating them,” they said.
“Being an active user of social media for constructive purposes yourself, you can understand the situation of doctors put in this state,” the letter read.
“We strongly condemn these events and would be really thankful if government creates a healthy space for debate and discussion to aid healthcare workers rather than ridicule them. All punishments are to be withdrawn and their honor restored,” it said.
Meanwhile, according to a public notice circulating on social media, the Safdarjung Hospital RDA has sought donations of PPE kits, N-95 masks, triple layer masks and hand sanitizers, saying the “administration is trying its level best to procure protective equipment and consumables, but the demand is surpassing the supply”.
“Kindly donate the above mentioned equipment and consumables in as much as amount as feasible. The donation may please be done through the office of the medical superintendent of Safdarjung hospital,” the notice said.
The hospital administration, however, denied any shortage of protective gear. Safdarjung RDA president Manish said, “It (notice) was in the context of non-profit organisations that had shown interest in donating protective gear and medical equipment. But it has come to our notice that many people have misinterpreted the nature of our notice and have falsely attached bank account numbers asking for donation.”
“Safdarjung Hospital, hereby, clarifies that we never asked for money in any form and instead are only willing to accept donation of medical equipment through proper administrative channel via the office of Medical Superintendent, VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital,” he said.
“At present, there is no shortage of medical equipment in Safdarjung Hospital, but the future course of this pandemic still remains uncertain and therefore, requires us to be proactive in our preparedness for the same,” Manish said, requesting people not to fall prey to any scam involving donations.