As many as 417 healthcare workers including 147 doctors have contracted the deadly Covid19 in line of their duty in Kashmir till August 6, Health Department data show.
Srinagar district where all major tertiary care hospitals are situated has witnessed the highest number of positive healthcare workers, a senior health department official said.
In J&K, the number of COVID positive cases has already breached 24,000 mark. The only silver lining in this gloomy situation is the improving recovery rate of infected patients which has reached 62 percent.
President, Doctors Association of Kashmir, Dr. Nisar ul Hassan said doctors, nurses and paramedical staff are at greater risk. "The novel virus seems to hit health care workers harder than others," Dr Nisar who is associate professor of medicine at Government Medical College said.
"Administration must ensure rationing of health staff in order to reduce their exposure. Medical staff must remain safe because if healthcare workers collapse, the health system will shut down, and people will suffer," he said.
He said that the "extensive protective gear" is the best way to safeguard clinical staff who treat COVID-19 patients.
"A study conducted by GMC found that even the healthcare workers have not developed significant antibodies to fight this virus. Experts had earlier thought that people will develop herd immunity which has not been the case even among healthcare workers," Dr Nisar said.
As many as 99 doctors in the country, a majority of them general practitioners, have succumbed to COVID-19, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Wednesday, and declared a red alert for medicos and medical administrators asking them to raise their guard. According to IMA National COVID registry data, of the total 1,302 doctors infected with COVID-19, 99 have succumbed to the disease. Of those dead, 73 were above the age of 50 years, 19 in the age-group of 35-50 and seven below 35 years, the data showed.
"IMA declares RED ALERT to doctors and medical administrators to raise their guard. If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals," the doctors' body had said in a statement. The IMA strongly advocated the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices.
This requires intense review and updating of all administrative set ups in the hospitals, including infection control protocols. Any gap in providing for the safety of doctors, nurses and staff have to be plugged, it said in the statement.
A feedback system from the doctors, employees and public needs to be put in place. Cleaning and sanitising protocols should be meticulously adhered to, the IMA said.
"Analysis of data shows that while senior and young doctors are equally infected with COVID-19, mortality is higher among elders. While this is on expected lines, there is scope for lessening deaths across the age spectrum. Meticulous adherence to norms and discipline inside hospitals will have a salutary effect," the statement said.