At a time when Assam's coronavirus positive numbers are on the rise and Guwahati is facing a major spread of the virus, the Assam chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday, urging the state health department not to take "whimsical decisions".
The IMA has expressed immense resentment over the recent changes in the policy of the government over the management of the COVID-19 situation.
"IMA strongly protests the government's order of engaging health workers and doctors in 11 days' continuous service in the COVID wards and thereafter only three days of quarantine before re-engaging them in COVID duties subject to testing negative for the disease," says the letter.
Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said on Twitter the issue has been "amicably resolved".
We have amicably resolved the issue of duty schedule in Covid Wards and period of quarantine with Junior Doctors Association of Guwahati Medical College— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 7, 2020
The letter also highlights that the policy might 'demoralize' the frontline health workers who have to work in inconvenient conditions. IMA further protest against the government's switching over to antigen tests for checking the health workers, as according to ICMR this test is less sensitive.
The letter further mentions, "IMA takes strong exception to the fact that already a large number of doctors and health workers have fallen victims to the COVID and such unplanned and insensitive plans will further endanger the health workers and time is not far away that doctors and health workers will have to serve the people with COVID in their persons." However, IMA urges the government to abide by the ICMR guidelines while managing and supervising asymptomatic COVID patients.
According to IMA, failing to make adequate planning, it will be difficult for the government to deal with the situation, specifically at the time when COVID cases are mounting rapidly. The letter also points out the fact that merely increasing the number of beds in the hospital will not suffice as there is a very limited resource of doctors and health workers.
"Right now we don't have any shortage of kits, but there is huge pressure on our man power, our people are working day and night since there is a surge in cases, we are treating the symptomatic and taking care of the asymptomatic," said Assam Health Secretary Samir Sinha to NDTV.