The United Nurses Association (UNA) has moved the Supreme Court pressing the issues being faced by the health care workers including the nurses and para-medical staffs working at the frontline to treat COVID-19 patients.
The plea highlights that the WHO has already issued an interim guidance for standardizing the rights, roles and responsibilities of health care workers internationally; however, the Indian government has failed to devise a national protocol for the same.
In this backdrop, the Petitioner organization seeks formulation of a "National COVID19 Management Protocol".
The plea points out that paucity of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the country and lack of training on infection prevention and control has exposed frontline medical workers to serious health risk, with more than 50 health care workers including doctors from different states having tested positive for Covid-19.
Further stating that the health infrastructure in our country is "under resourced", the Petitioner has urged the government to ensure that Covid-19 protection kits are made available to every single health care professional working in the corona isolation wards, or who work in close proximity of patients suspected to be infected with the virus.
Through this plea, the Petitioner has also urged the government to expand the scope of personal accident cover provided under the "Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Health Workers Fighting COVID-19" to include all health care workers across sectors, including those recruited on ad-hoc basis.
Inter alia, the Petitioner has drawn attention of the court towards the following problems being faced the healthcare force of the country:
The Petitioner has argued that Corona virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets. Hence, health workers who are in contact with or care for COVID patients are at a high risk of contracting infection and protecting them should be of "paramount importance" for the government.
On this note, the Petitioner has sought the following reliefs, in addition to those mentioned above:
"A unanimously accepted belief is that the service of the health care workers are indispensible. It is the duty of the Governments to give them every possible help and assistance they direly need at this moment. Unfortunately, amid Covid-19 the following most common hardships being regularly faced by the health care workers throughout India," the plea states.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Biju P. Raman
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