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In Maharashtra alone, Kovid-19 cases have been confirmed, with a figure of over 7.3 lakhs, according to data on about 28% of infected health workers and more than 50% of total deaths.
While Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had tested more than 1 lakh health workers each as of 28 August, Karnataka reported only 12,260 infected health workers – nearly half the burden in Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu reported 11,169 cases involving doctors, nurses and ASHA workers. The three states together account for 55% of the total cases among health workers.
The three states also had the highest number of deaths of healthcare professionals, although there is a wide gap between Maharashtra and the other two. While Maharashtra had 292 deaths among health workers, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had 46 and 49 deaths respectively.
A large number of Kovid-19 infections and even deaths of health workers, particularly in the states, are being viewed with concern by officials and public health experts, who say that the risk to border workers against India’s epidemic May threaten the fight.
In a review meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary on this issue on Thursday, the Center informed the states about the need to protect an important resource. Potential factors responsible for the high infections, officials said, required Lakshman infection control in hospitals and stringent prevention measures in areas where health professionals live for their safety.
Despite the high number of cases, only 143 claims have been received since April under the 50 lakh Kovid-19 insurance scheme for health workers engaged in government Kovid mitigation activities.
Official sources said that there could be a wide gap between the number of deaths and claims as not all accidents may be eligible under the scheme. Also, claims are a bit slow to arrive as the families of the deceased take time to apply and do the necessary paperwork.
“Solidarity with health workers can be accomplished not by mere words of encouragement but by concerted efforts to strengthen the health workforce. Giridhar Babu, epidemiologist of the Public Health Foundation of India, Giridhar Babu said that insurance cover of more than Rs 2 crore should be provided for their families.
Chairman of Manipal Hospitals, Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal said, “It is important to protect health workers because we have enough force to take care of patients who need their services.” Large number of asymptomatic patients and lack of proper use of PPE.
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