While the coronavirus cases in the charts aren’t anytime falling down soon, another problem is arising and can prove to be a major turning point in an already worse pandemic. Doctors are in grave danger as they are running out of protective medical equipment including clothes, gloves, and N95 masks to keep them safe against the respiratory pathogens. The question isn’t just about the safety of medical professionals, but the effect it will have on already deteriorating conditions. India has just one doctor for every 1,445 people, which is very less than the WHO- recommended ratio of one to 1,000. In some underfunded public sector hospitals, this ratio is frightening such as one government doctor for every 10,926 people.
The entire faculty of Healthcare is extremely worried about shortages of PPE kits. Many of the doctors have warned that they will go on strike if the situation worsens since they are the most vulnerable group for coronavirus. In late February, the WHO urged countries to build up protective equipment stocks, while the Indian government waited until 19 March to ban the sale of domestically manufactured surgical masks and other medical equipment. This shows how ignorant the government is towards this problem.
The situation is far worse and scary in rural areas as doctors are wearing raincoats to treat suspected COVID-19 patients. The doctors and nurses in every state are repeatedly wearing the same medical gears again and again which puts them in extreme danger.
“In this case, if the medical community continues to collapse, things will spiral out of control,” said Jerryl Banait, a Mumbai doctor who has appealed to India’s Supreme Court to resolve the shortage of protective equipment. Doctors are facing problems. Last week, doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a leading university, and hospital, said health workers treating COVID-19 patients were being pushed out of their homes by landlords who feared the virus would spread to them. Health employees have now lost trust in the capacity of the Government to support them.
Right now, what is needed is special attention by the government for the safety of medical professionals.