IMA seeks Modi's intervention over attacks on doctors, misinformation campaigns
In the wake of attacks on several doctors, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his personal intervention to ensure "optimum milieu" for medical professionals in India so they can work without fear. It urged him to ensure action against those attacking doctors as well as spreading misinformation against modern medicine and vaccination amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Anguished and pained': IMA on misinformation campaigns amid the pandemic
In its letter, the IMA appealed for PM Modi's intervention to resolve its "long-pending pleas" and ensure the safety of medical professionals, allowing them to "work with compassion and dedication without mental and physical fear." It also said it was "anguished and pained" that certain people continue to spread misinformation and disbelief about modern medicine and vaccines even at this stage of the pandemic.
IMA seeks promulgation of Bill that punishes those assaulting doctors
The IMA requested the Prime Minister to punish those who attack doctors and other medical professionals on duty. It sought the promulgation of the Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, which was dismissed by the Home Ministry in 2019. The Bill provides for up to 10 years' imprisonment for those who assault on-duty healthcare personnel.
IMA deeply hurt by increasing incidents of violence against doctors
"In the midst of this pandemic, we are...deeply hurt to see the increasing incidents of physical violence against doctors and healthcare professionals in this country," stated the IMA in its letter. "All those involved in such heinous crimes ought to be punished so as to create an effective deterrent for other antisocial elements who may indulge in attacking any health care professionals," it added.
Take action against those spreading misinformation: IMA
Further, the IMA said strict action must be taken against anyone spreading misinformation against the COVID-19 vaccination drive; they must be punished under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Indian Penal Code, and the Disaster Management Act. Attempts by certain people to fool people by promoting "so-called magic remedies or wonder drugs" that aren't approved by the Health Ministry must be immediately curtailed, it added.
IMA asks Modi to ensure support to COVID-19 Martyrs' families
Moreover, the IMA also requested PM Modi to ensure that families of "COVID-19 Martyrs"—the medical professionals of the country who lost their lives in the war against COVID-19—are supported by the government. It also urged him to "create an effective mechanism for identifying and verifying these victims" through the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) to ensure support to such families.
IMA urges government to promote universal free vaccination in India
In its letter, the IMA also urged the Centre to "promote universal free vaccination" to everyone above 18 years instead of leaving vaccines to the extent of 50% to states and private hospitals. Furthermore, it noted there was an urgent need for India to prepare for dealing with serious post-COVID-19 complications like lung fibrosis, fungal infections, and thrombotic complications that are on the rise.