MHA asks states, UTs to take strict actions against those who assault health workers
Amid the rise in violence against healthcare workers, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday urged the states and Union territories (UT) to take strict actions against those who assault healthcare professionals. The home secretary asked the states and UTs to keep a close watch on such cases and invoke the Epidemic Diseases Act, where applicable.
"In the present circumstances, it has become imperative that strict action be taken against those who assault healthcare professionals. Institutional FIRs should be registered against the assaulters and such cases should be fast tracked. You may also like to invoke the provisions of the Epidemics Disease (Amendment) Act, 2020, where applicable," home secretary Bhalla wrote in a letter to chief secretaries and administrators.
The home secretary also urged the states and UTs to keep a close watch on any objectionable content in social media that may exacerbate the situation. He asked the governments to make efforts like posters in hospitals and social media posts to emphasise the contribution of healthcare professionals and doctors during the major healthcare crisis of the century-the coronavirus pandemic.
Further, he also requested the state governments to take these measures on priority and to proactively engage with the members of the medical fraternity.
"I would request the states and Union territories may take these measures on priority and proactively engage with the members of the medical fraternity to assuage their concerns." the home secretary wrote.
This comes a day after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) held a nationwide protest in demand for the implementation of a central law to protect doctors and healthcare professionals against acts of violence.
The home secretary in the letter also said that their earlier advisories dated April 27 and June 9 suggested remedial measures like provision of adequate security at healthcare facilities, especially at Covid designated hospitals, controlled and restricted access to the premises, deployment of quick response police teams at vulnerable locations, effective local level intervention with well equipped centralized control room for monitoring and quick response etc.
There have been several incidents of violence against doctors serving in Covid wards. They were brutally attacked and beaten in states like Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
The IMA on Wednesday said that around 730 doctors have lost their lives during the second wave of the Covid pandemic.