The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with the Union and state Health Ministers, to look into the "utter injustice" after doctors in Maharashtra accused alleged "non-inclusion" of over two lakh private doctors and healthcare workers in the list of frontline workers who will get the first COVID vaccine.
The letter comes at a time when the government has ordered states to prepare a list of "all private and government healthcare workers" at the forefront of the deadly pandemic in the country.
The letter accuses the state health secretary of excluding private doctors in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state by the pandemic, from the list even though "the central government plans to vaccinate all health workers on a priority basis".
"Health Secretary changed the guidelines sent by the centre... the words "registered with the district" were introduced... directed that doctors and medical staff of hospitals registered under Bombay Nursing Home Act should be registered. This led to exclusion of doctors from privately run hospitals, clinics, pathology labs," the letter signed by IMA state president Dr Avinash Bhondwe states.
"Besides government doctors, private medical professionals have also played a key role in treating Covid patients," the letter adds. The letter also brought to light the concerns over the state's refusal to extend the centre's posthumously insurance cover of ₹ 50 lakh, Corona Kavach, to 61 medical professionals who succumbed to the virus in the line of duty.
"Private doctors helped the Mumbai municipal body, BMC, in screening and testing people at a time when no one was willing to even enter Dharavi (Asia's largest slum)," Dr Akhtar Sheikh, General Secretary of the Dharavi Ayush Doctors' Association, said.