Concerned over repeated attacks on healthcare workers even during the Covid-19 pandemic, and discrimination against doctors who have contracted Covid, the World Medical Association (WMA) has urged the World Health Organization and members countries to take urgent concrete steps to tackle these serious issues.
It may be noted that violence against healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, still continues in India despite the Epidemic Disease Act being in force providing strict punishment to the individuals who attack doctors and ransack healthcare facilities.
Similarly, doctors who have been infected with the virus face discrimination in their societies and colonies. Both these issues are prevalent in other countries too.
The WMA has stated that WHO should recognize the protection of health care personnel from violence and discrimination as an international priority requiring urgent action.
The doctors’ body pointed out that these actions include adequate accountability mechanisms by the governments against perpetrators of violence against healthcare personnel.
The WMA has said that governments should have accurate and systematic data collection on violence incidents in relation to the pandemic to document the phenomenon.
“Governments should ensure transparent and effective information campaigns to keep the public informed and stop misinformation related to Covid contamination. They should also ensure the security of the supply chain of personal protective equipment for all health personnel on the frontline,” said Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, Treasurer, WMA.
“The recognition of Covid as an occupational illness, providing compensation and other support to health personnel in case of infection should be addressed,” he added.