DAK files detailed reply to PIL highlighting issues of safety, care, health, violence against healthcare professionals

Srinagar, 05 June (KNS): President Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), Dr Suhail Naik has filed a detailed reply to PIL WP (C) PIL No. 04/2020 Azra Usmail V/S Union Territory of J&K and Ors through their lawyer Advocate Shuja ul Haq, highlighting the issues of the medical staff in Kashmir.
In a statement issued to KNS, the doctors body said that it has informed the honourable High Court that various reported and unreported cases of violence against health care personnel have come to fore in the recent past in Kashmir.
“But no action was taken by the Government to deter people from creating unnecessary obstacles in the way of health care personnel to perform their duty in a fearless manner,” the statement said.
DAK said that there is a sense of fear always among the health care personnel when they go to the place for their professional obligations.
“The issue of safety, care and wellbeing of the health workers has always lost attention of the government and because of this reason no specific law/legislation has been enacted at Central or State level for protection of these health workers against all kinds of acts of violence,” DAK said.
The doctors body has submitted that it is an admitted position that India is woefully short of doctors and its healthcare infrastructure is creaky.
“Public hospitals are overcrowded, even as private ones are too expensive for most of the citizens. It is as such that instances of violence typically take place against the doctors/health workers when there is a death of a patient,” it said.
The association believes that in absence of any specific law entailing severe punishment, the acts of violence towards doctors/health workers have been increasing day in and out and without any punishment to the perpetrators/culprits.
Further, their grim reality is that most of the healthcare professionals are neither adequately appreciated nor protected, there are not enough PPE (personal protection equipment) for the doctors and nurses at the time of COVID-19 pandemic.
DAK said that medical staff conduct door-to-door visits in affected areas, monitoring quarantined patients, and testing people.
“The strong law should act as a deterrent for the unruly elements while emboldening healthcare workers and assuring them that their safety is being accorded high priority.”
DAK said that the President of India recently approved The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which is aimed at protecting healthcare professionals against violence during health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic now ravaging the world.
“The ordinance makes not just attacks on healthcare personnel, but also those on their property, including their living and working premises, cognizable, non-bail able offences,” DAK said.
It has said that the issuance of ordinance and bringing amendment to The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 was the need of hour, but taking of more concrete steps is the need of hour so as to protect the life and property of health care personnel on one hand and to protect the property/medical equipment of the hospitals on the other hand.
The court has taken suggestions submitted by DAK on record on behalf of its president, Dr Suhail Naik. (KNS)


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