- 26-year-old, Anas Mujahid, a junior Resident Doctor the youngest casualty
- At 78, Bihar has reported the highest COVID-19 deaths among doctors
- Only 3 to 4% of these doctors were fully vaccinated: IMA National President
New Delhi: As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the country, it’s not leaving even the healthcare workers, India’s COVID warriors. India has lost 269 doctors during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, since April first week, finds the data collated by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Of this, 50 deaths were recorded on May 16 alone. The youngest casualty recorded is 26-year-old, Anas Mujahid, a junior Resident Doctor at Delhi’s COVID dedicated Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. Dr Mujahid died within hours of testing positive due to COVID-19.
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Dr Mujahid had minor symptoms like sore throat and tested positive in an antigen test at the hospital. In a rare case of sudden progression, he collapsed soon after and died due to intracranial bleeding. He is survived by his parents and four siblings.
It has been a week since the death of Dr Mujahid, but his friend and colleague Dr Aamir Sohail is still struggling to come to terms with the sudden loss. While talking to NDTV, Dr Sohail said,
It was shocking for everyone who knew him. He had no comorbidity. He was a very dedicated doctor.
Dr Mujahid was yet to get vaccinated. Explaining the vaccination process for the healthcare workers at GTB, Dr Sohail said,
Many colleagues here, including me, have not taken the jab. Our process of getting vaccinated while being on COVID duty is long. We have to inform superiors and get their signature etc. He was planning to get the jab in the next few days.
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The highest COVID-19 deaths among doctors have been reported from Bihar with 78, followed by Uttar Pradesh (37) and Delhi (28). In the first wave of the COVID-9 pandemic, 736 doctors died, reports IMA. Talking to NDTV about the difference between the first and second wave and what is causing more deaths this time, Dr J A Jayalal, National President, IMA said,
In the first wave, the progression of the disease was relatively slow. From the first day of the onset, the lung infection would take almost seven to eight days. But now, within a very short time, the infection directly spreads to the lungs resulting in extensive lung damage. Secondly, doctors are exposed to a heavy viral load because of long working hours and insufficient quarantine time. A lot of infection is happening outside the corridors of the COVID centre through a lot of general patients showing no suspicion of COVID infection.
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IMA is following up with the family of the doctors who have died due to COVID-19 and collating data on how many of them were vaccinated. As per Dr Jayalal, only 3 to 4 per cent of these doctors were fully vaccinated but the final data is yet to come out. Talking about the loss of lives and the need for vaccination, Dr Jayesh Lele, General Secretary, IMA, told NDTV,
We would definitely investigate the matter and persuade our IMA doctors to see that all doctors – frontline healthcare workers as well as paramedical workers – take the vaccine. The government has employed very few doctors and they are overburdened. Many times they have to work for 48 hours at a stretch without any rest. This adds to the viral load and they ultimately succumb to the COVID infection.
Dr Jayalal alleged a lack of specialised care for healthcare workers on COVID duty and no provision of reserving beds for them. Urging the government to augment the manpower, Dr Jayalal said,
Our aim is only to take care of our healthcare workers. Our demand is specialised care for doctors. The government should come out and support the families of doctors who died of COVID-19. They should be recognised as martyrs and benefits of martyrs should be given to these people.
While the IMA data suggests that around 1,000 doctors have died due to COVID since the start of the pandemic, the actual numbers may be far higher as the IMA only keeps a record of its 3.27 lakh members.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.