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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 1066-1067  

Violence among healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic in India


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry, India
2 Department of Anaesthesia, Government Medical College Chengalpattu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission05-Oct-2020
Date of Decision30-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sivabalakumaran Kengadaran
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Pondicherry - 607 402
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2054_20

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How to cite this article:
Kengadaran S, Divvi A, Kengadaran S. Violence among healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic in India. J Family Med Prim Care 2021;10:1066-7

How to cite this URL:
Kengadaran S, Divvi A, Kengadaran S. Violence among healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic in India. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 21];10:1066-7. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2021/10/2/1066/310311



Apart from work-related exposure to COVID-19,[1] violence against health care workers at workplace in India,[2] had increased rapidly during this pandemic. The healthcare workers were even attacked at their apartment and were also criticized by the vendors. The first such incident was reported in Hyderabad, where a female doctor was denied entry to the house by the landlord.[3] Though the incident had gained a lot of focus, the action taken against that attacker was not reported anywhere. On top of that, the first case of death of a health care worker was reported in Indore on 9 April 2020[4] and two more in Tamil Nadu a few weeks later. The ostracism of the public reached a peak when they created violence while cremating the dead bodies of healthcare workers. The ambulance carrying the bodies was attacked by a mob leaving behind the driver and workers with grievous injuries.[4] This behavior of the people could be due to panic and mistrust on the governmental steps in combating COVID-19.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) warned the Government, to draft a special law on violence against healthcare professionals, by calling all the healthcare professionals for a White alert by lighting candles on 22 April 2020. IMA has also requested all the healthcare professionals to wear a black badge on a subsequent day as an act to register grievance against violence against health care professionals. The Government then called for a meeting with IMA to discuss their demands and put an end to the current situation. Within hours after a meeting between IMA and Government of India, an ordinance was passed in the parliament and signed by The President of India the next day to prevent violence against healthcare professionals.[5]

The amendment stated that “any commission or abetment to acts of violence shall be punished with imprisonment of three months to five years and a fine of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh. If the attackers cause grievous hurt, they can be imprisoned for six months to seven years with a fine of Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh. The offender was also liable to pay compensation to the victim and twice the fair market value for damage of property”. “Although several states have enacted several laws to protect violence against doctors, this amendment was the first to cover violence against healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, paramedical workers, community health workers, and persons empowered under the Epidemic Diseases Act at both workplace and home,” said the Health Minister of India.[5]

The enactment of law within such a short span in a country like India had encouraged healthcare workers to actively participate in COVID-19 surveillance and rendering services without the fear of being attacked. Amidst these critical conditions, this law has brought a long-fought war of healthcare professionals against violence against them.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Behera D, Praveen D, Behera MR. Protecting Indian health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:4541-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Reddy IR, Ukrani J, Indla V, Ukrani V. Violence against doctors: A viral epidemic? Indian J Psychiatry 2019;61(Suppl 4):S782-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
India Today. Coronaphobia: Covid-19 warriors live in torment. Available from: https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/coronaphobia-covid-19-warriors-live-in-torment-1660577-2020-03-28. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
India Today. Madhya Pradesh: 62-year-old doctor dies from coronavirus in Indore. Available from: https://www.indiatoday.in/coronavirus-outbreak/story/madhya-pradesh-62-year-old-doctor-dies-coronavirus-indore-1665146-2020-04-09. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 22].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Livemint. President approves ordinance to protect healthcare workers. Available from: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/president-approves-ordinance-making-violence-against-doctors-punishable-offence-11587616074735.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 05].  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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