The disheartening statement about the government not having data on the number of healthcare staff who have lost their lives fiercely fighting in this battlefront against COVID came as a big shock for the entire medical fraternity. It does make us question ourselves that, Does the government and society value our sacrifices, or is it just limited to the banging of plates and showering of petals?
In heart-wrenching news coming in from Gujarat, it has been noted that several medical students have tested positive for COVID 19, most of them being hostelers. As many as 34 students from all over Gujarat which include 15 students from St. Nathiba Hargovandas Lakhmichand Municipal Medical College, Ahmedabad; 14 students from AMC MET Medical College, Maninagar, Ahmedabad ; 3 students from Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research; and two students from the state-run Government Medical College, Surat are battling against the deadly virus. The figures raise suspicion about whether the SOPs are correctly followed in the college hostels.
This further also necessitates us to brainstorm that when all the MBBS students right from the 1st years to the final proff. Would be called back officially for resuming their offline classes, which would ensure their safety? By merely getting an undertaking filed by the students for the responsibility of their own safety, the govt can surely not shrug off their responsibility for safeguarding the health of the medicos. With an expected rise in numbers, medicos all over the state have started demanding special care for all the hostelers.
The government of Gujarat is also planning to train MBBS students to join COVID 19 duties by making them skilled in sample collection, field surveillance and supervision and critical care assistance. MBBS students have also filed a petition opposing the move, but the final verdict on this is yet to be given.
Jeopardizing the health of medical students, the target of getting additional frontline taskforce to one lakh can certainly not be met. Medical students do not have an extensive list of demands that cannot be met, but the only apprehension they have is about their safety and also of their loved ones.
Most medical students have co-morbidities like Asthma, Hypertension, Diabetes, which make them even more prone to the severity of this disease. So, the government should ensure that appropriate safety measures like good quality PPE kits, proper lodging and quarantine facilities, and adequate sanitization norms be met.
It is also relatively insensitive of the government to say that it does not have figures of the death toll of the corona warriors which further demotivates the spirit of service amongst the medicos and the doctors. Even though monetary compensation would be an undervalue to the indomitable spirit of the Corona martyrs but paying proper homage to them is something irrefutable.
Doctors and medical students have taken up this profession to “dedicate” themselves in the service of humanity, certainly not to “sacrifice” their youth, family and their life. But wasn’t this exactly what the society thinks we signed up for in the first place?