Death rate among doctors due to Covid far more in Bihar, says IMA official
“Doctors account for 0.5 per cent of the total deaths in India due to Covid-19. However, in Bihar, the percentage of doctors’ death is 4.75 per cent, which is nine times more than the national average,” said senior vice-president of IMA-Bihar Dr Ajay Kumar.Updated: Aug 10, 2020 00:03 IST
Death percentage of doctors succumbing to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Bihar is nine times more than country’s national average, claims a senior functionary of Indian Medical Association (IMA).
“Doctors account for 0.5 per cent of the total deaths in India due to Covid-19. However, in Bihar, the percentage of doctors’ death is 4.75 per cent, which is nine times more than the national average,” said senior vice-president of IMA-Bihar Dr Ajay Kumar.
States like Tamil Nadu (0.1%), Maharashtra (0.15%), Gujarat (0.9%), Karnataka (0.6%), Andhra Pradesh (0.7%) and Delhi (0.3%), which reported far more Covid-19 cases, had less percentage of doctors dying to the virus as compared to Bihar, he said.
“In Bihar, 19 doctors have died of the 400 fatalities attributed to the virus as on Saturday. In India, against 41,600 Covid-19 deaths, 200 are doctors,” Dr Kumar said.
The high percentage of doctors’ death in Bihar has set tongues wagging against the government. At the same time, doctors have also cited exising co-morbidities and reduced precautions among doctors against the virus outbreak in the state.
“Most elderly doctors having co-morbidities continued to do private practice. They also took precautions against Covid-19 lightly and had to pay the price with their lives,” said Dr Ranjeet Kumar, general secretary of the Bihar Health Services Association.
Among doctors, private medical practitioners account for nearly 64 per cent — seven out of 19 —deaths due to the contagion in Bihar.
Dr Kumar questioned the government’s policy of not quarantining doctors who were treating Covid-19 patients.
“In other states, doctors doing duty in Covid-19 wards are quarantined for 15 days after 15 days of continuous work. This arrangement is not followed in Bihar, as a result of which our doctors remain exposed to Covid-19 patients far longer than in other states. In fact, in Bihar, doctors are working continuously at a stretch since mid-March, without even an off day,” said Dr Kumar.
“I had given our health minister a list of 220 doctors who were infected by SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, around 10 days back, requesting him to allow them to be quarantined, but nothing has happened so far,” he said.
Another official also raised concerns over the quality of protection kits available in the state.
“Protective gears available here are questionable. Fifty percent doctors in public sector are 60-plus and have co-morbidity, yet they have been drafted for Covid-19 duty despite our requests not to engage them. However, given the shortage of doctors, with 60 per cent posts vacant as compared to their sanctioned strength, the government allowed elderly doctors no relief,” said IMA-Bihar secretary Dr Sunil Kumar.