Agency will launch online campaign on Aug 19 to draw attention to problem of increasing violence against healthcare workers, and also to honor them
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), which has been raising its voice against the increasing number of attacks on healthcare professionals, has received a shot in the arm following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision to espouse the cause. Ahead of the World Humanitarian Day (August 19), WHO is trying to draw attention towards the continuing attacks on health workers and facilities. The problem of violent attacks on doctors has assumed global proportions. In just 2014, WHO received reports of 372 such attacks in 32 countries, resulting in 603 deaths and 958 injuries.
The resident doctors in state- and civic-run hospitals are more vulnerable to such attacks as in cases of emergency, they are the first to attend to the patients. Recently, MARD had even gone on a strike, demanding proper security at workplace. The state government assured them of the same, but attacks on doctors continued.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) recently revealed that over 75 per cent doctors faced violence at work. “The problem is that the attacks on doctors have become common. In our state, we have a good law – the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2009. But how many people know about it? This Act needs to be implemented. Only then such instances won’t happen,” Dr Anil Pachnekar, Dean (academic), National headquarter, IMA.
MARD president Dr Sagar Mundada said, “It is the government’s job to provide security to doctors at workplace. Now WHO has also taken up the cause. That means it’s a global problem. Our demand for security at hospitals is valid.”
Meanwhile, to honour healthcare workers, WHO will launch an online platform to recognise the efforts of doctors, nurses and other staffers, and remind the member states and parties to conflict to uphold their commitment towards protecting these staffers. The campaign, named ‘ThanksHealthHero’, aims to gather tributes to honour health professionals. Between the World Humanitarian Day and the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, people around the world are invited to send messages of gratitude via social media.
The campaign will also serve to draw attention to the threats faced by healthcare workers and the need for intensified action to protect them. In 2015, hundreds of health workers died in conflict zones, or while fighting diseases such as Ebola. In Yemen, five health workers were killed and 14 injured in June alone. In West Africa, of the 875 health workers infected with Ebola, 509 died.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said, “WHO is committed to saving lives and reducing suffering in times of crisis. Attacks against healthcare workers and facilities is flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. Health workers have an obligation to treat the sick and injured without discrimination. All parties to conflict must respect that obligation.”
What does the law say
In 2010, the state government acceded to medical professionals’ long-standing demand and passed the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2009. According to the Act, violence against doctors, medical staff and medical establishments is a non-bailable offence, with imprisonment of up to three years and fine of up to Rs50,000. Also, the offender will have to pay twice the amount of damage or loss caused to the property as compensation. Unfortunately, the Act seems to be only on paper, as most people, including the police personnel, do not seem to be aware of it.
SANTOSH ANDHALE | Mon, 17 Aug 2015-07:45am , dna
Link – http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-who-takes-up-issue-of-attack-on-doctors-2115127