All health workers deserve to work with dignity

Published: Apr 24, 2020, 04:56 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

A large number of private practitioners have shut their clinics claiming they have no protective equipment and are at risk, as are their families if they continue to see patients

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allegedly not paid electricity bills for its dispensary in Kandivli East, due to which its connection was cut. The SRA building it is housed in has given the dispensary a connection on humanitarian grounds, but have said that they fear some action, a report stated in this paper.

The doctor at the dispensary is seeing at least 200 patients a day because of the rush amid the Coronavirus pandemic. A large number of private practitioners have shut their clinics claiming they have no protective equipment and are at risk, as are their families if they continue to see patients. This has resulted in worried people crowding the few available options. The authorities are telling doctors to keep their clinics open, but not every doctor is willing to do so, given the high risk factor.

Given a trying time like this, the civic authorities should have been extremely quick about paying bills and ensuring the dispensary functions flawlessly. Even without a crisis, it is inexplicable and unforgivable that electricity bills remain unpaid for an important, essential service.

One can only smile at the irony. On the one hand, all the correct noises are made, and sentiments expressed about protecting health workers on the frontline of this fight. They should be protected and we fully endorse that. In fact, the stringent punishments for attacks on health workers should extend way beyond this time and we should very soon see their end.

On the other hand, why should a small dispensary and the health workers suffer because of unpaid bills? It is baffling, to say the least. All doctors are frontline workers and every clinic a vital part of the health ecosystem, so necessary in these times. Pay up and allow them to function without stress and with dignity.

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