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‘A proud moment’, medics express gratitude to Armed forces

New Delhi,  Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital said it was a proud moment for them to be honoured by the Indian Armed Forces.

Speaking to IANS they said it was a great gesture by the Armed Forces to boost their morale as it is a very challenging time for the entire country, specially for the frontline warriors in the battle against novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) jets and transport planes across India on Sunday showered petals on hospitals and places of national importance to show honour and express their gratitude towards the coronavirus warriors who are battling against the pandemic.

Speaking to IANS, Dr. Adarsh Pratap Singh, president of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Delhi, saidP: “It was a great gesture shown by the Indian Armed forces. The armed forces have always come to the forefront whenever the country is in difficulty. This time, health workers are the frontline warriors in this difficult time of coronavirus pandemic. Despite having limited resources, doctors are giving their hundred percent to save the people of the country. It is their unique way of saluting to the health workers battling coronavirus.

Dr Singh said this is the time when the government must ensure safety of all health workers. “Now we expect the government to provide a safe work environment in all the hospitals across the country. In AIIMS we have sufficient quantities of PPEs etc. but there are other hospitals in the country which have raised this issue. The government should sort this out otherwise if doctors and health workers keep getting infected, the entire health infrastructure will come to a halt.”

Echoing the same sentiment, Dr Manish RDA President of Safdarjung Hospital told IANS that it was a proud moment for all the doctors at the Safdarjang hospital. “It was a proud moment for the medical fraternity. Not only the flowers were showered but the Army band also performed here. The Indian Armed forces have given a message to the society that health workers should be respected.”

Dr Manish said that all the frontline workers have been working in very difficult conditions and recent attacks had brought a feeling of disparity in their minds and hearts. “We are working really hard, in difficult conditions. Many doctors are working 12 hours continuously or even more, not because there are less number of doctors, but to reduce the exposure. Suppose if three doctors work in COVID ward in a day, they all will be exposed to the virus but if one works for a longer duration, at least two will be saved. This is our internal management, other hospitals are working as per their own system.

Dr Manish said they all have to wear PPE in hot temperature because the centralised air conditions of the hospital have been switched off in order to avoid the transmission. “There are sufficient quantity of PPE kits, masks, and sanitisers for all, including nurses and support staff, in our hospital. But the major challenge we are facing is of asymptomatic patients, and there is no solution for it as they sometimes do not know that they are infected. Some patients are still hiding their travel or contact history which is posing a huge threat to the health workers resulting in infecting them. No one can wear PPE all the time. The centralised air conditioner is off to minimise the transmission,” he said.

He also said, “Another challenge is the sealing of state borders. Lots of health workers live in places like Gurugram and Faridabad and they are facing problem in crossing the border. There are around 500 doctors who have been offered hotel stay but it is extremely difficult to accommodate 12 to 13 hundred health workers in hotels or hostels.

A senior Resident, Dr. Soumyadip Chatterji who was posted in COVID care centre of AIIMS, set up in Haryana’s Jhajjar, told IANS, “It feels good to be honoured by the armed forces. I convey my thanks and gratitude to the government and the armed forces.”

Dr Chatterji, who is now on 14 days of mandatory quarantine, post his duty, said, “the society must realise that things do not end with honouring the doctors and healthcare workers for just one day. From this day the society should begin to restore the honour of the profession that it had taken away. It has to be ensured that there is no violence against doctors in future. Even in normal times law should be strictly enforced to prevent violence against doctors and health workers. The perpetrators should be given exemplary punishment as in many other countries. The society should realise the importance of the profession and remember the sacrifice.”

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