The death of a doctor in Kashmir who succumbed to covid infection has once again brought to the limelight the perils against which the health workers are performing their duties in the current crisis. While it is tragic that we are losing lives to this pandemic everyday, the death of a doctor underlines a far bigger crisis in the healthcare system. It is the second such death, as we lost a doctor some time earlier to the same dreadful pandemic. Both these deaths are very shocking to the people, as they are for the fellow colleagues in the department. Here, the question of providing defence to the defenders pops up. With that comes another question, and that is about the dependants left behind by the deceased. While the question of upgrading facilities for the doctors and other medical staff has been raised repeatedly, the other question is being asked only dimly. The fact of the matter is that this pandemic is a natural disaster.
Like other natural disasters it has affected human lives and human possessions. It is a usual practice that governments compensate the affected people in any disaster. Here also government must come up with a formidable plan to take care of the affected families. In case of government employees the defences are quite robust, and the families are taken care of through various means, the biggest being the post-death service benefits, and the regular pension. But those who are not government employees fall on difficult conditions. These are the families that are devastated beyond description. As part of social security net, and also as part of disaster management, the death of earning hands in this pandemic needs to be given a special attention. Such families not only mourn the loss of their members, but also stare at a ruined future. They have nothing to fall back upon, in most of the cases. It is the duty of the government to announce some package for such families, and make sure that penury doesn’t drown the future of such families.