More than half a dozen doctors associations in West Bengal have written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging that the government provide necessary protective measures to front line medical staff as per national and international guidelines as well increased testing for COVID-19 .
The letter said that if healthcare providers got affected, not only would they become bigger source of the epidemic, healthcare would also collapse. “So healthcare workers working relentlessly in different categories should be provided with necessary protective measures as per the ICMR, WHO guidelines.”
“With the permission of the ICMR, more and more Coronavirus testing centres should be opened at least in every region and testing done as per ICMR guidelines. Local administration should also be empowered to order as per ICMR guidelines. There should be sample collection centres at least at every sub-divisional level," the communication said.
At a meeting held on April 20, they also suggested that in the issuance of death certificates, “guidelines of the ICMR (ICD -10 codes of the WHO) should be followed and the same circulated to the local authorities for strict adherence”.
The government has set up an audit committee to look into the COVID-19 deaths. The number of deceased approved by the panel remains at 15 and the active cases at 274 as on April 21
Trinamool MP among signatories
Amidst reports of doctors in various State-run facilities testing positive for COVID- 19, the association, in the letter, demanded “real-time transparent data on COVID-19 in the State, including a daily medical bulletin on all medical staff”.
The letter addressed has been signed by eight associations of doctors, including State secretary of the Indian Medical Association Santanu Sen, who is a Trinamool Congress MP. He was also present at the meeting of the representatives of different associations.
The communication suggested that virologists, epidemiologists, pulmonologists and public health experts be included in the committees formed by the government.
The other signatories to the letter include Kaushik Lahiri from the West Bengal Doctors Forum and Punyabrata Gun, a public health specialist from Shramjibi Swashtya Udyog.