In lieu of COVID-19 cases, the medical industry is facing difficulty to treat patients with a lack of precautionary measures. Due to this many medical practitioners along with nurses, workers and other helping staff is facing serious health issues. Under this purview, the Kerala-based association, ‘United Nurses Association’ (UNA) has approached the Supreme Court by filing a PIL, through Advocates, Subhash Chandran and Biju P. Raman.
The association has presented its concern for the health care facilities provided to the doctors, nurses, para-medical and workers who are playing an active role in the frontline to treat COVID-19 patients. They continued to state, that, the medical field is ‘under-resourced’ and it is due to this, serious health issues are being faced by the medical staff in the entire nation. The petition also mentioned, “So far, seven doctors working in different hospitals and clinics in the national capital have tested positive for COVID-19. A large number of healthcare workers including nurses and doctors are infected in various states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi etc. At least 50 nurses are under quarantine or isolation and many of them have tested positive,”.
The association sought a direction to the Centre to ensure proper protection kits are made available to all healthcare professionals working in isolation wards, or in close proximity of infected patients. Among other problems mentioned in the petition, some are, lack of availability or sub-standard personal protective equipment(PPE), non-availability of a sufficient number of COVID-19 testing kits, lack of trained officers on infection prevention and control, lack of basic facilities in isolation wards and deduction of salary on account of leaves, and importantly, forced labour of health workers who are pregnant, lactating or immune.
By this petition, the petitioner wants to introduce and establish “National COVID-19 Management Protocol” at the national level under the guideline issued by WHO. Along with this, the petitioner urged the hon’ble court to expand the scope of accident cover under “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19” to include all health care workers, including those recruited on ad hoc basis.