With the surge in COVID-19 cases in Bihar, the State has reported nine times more deaths of doctors than the national average, according to officials at the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
“In Bihar, the doctors’ death percentage due to COVID-19 is 4.42% while the national average is 0.5%”, claimed Dr. Ajay Kumar, senior vice-president of the IMA, Bihar chapter.
Till Sunday, as many as 19 doctors died of coronavirus in Bihar while over 250 were infected with the disease, said IMA State secretary Sunil Kumar.
The number of doctors dying of COVID-19 was far lesser in other States such as Maharashtra (0.15%), Karnataka (0.6%), Tamil Nadu (0.1%), Gujarat (0.9%), Delhi (0.3%) and Andhra Pradesh (0.7%), they claimed.
Among the 19 doctors who lost their lives in the State, seven were private practitioners.
The IMA officials also criticised the facilities and quality of protective gear provided to the doctors. “Unlike other States, here in Bihar, the doctors deployed in COVID-19 wards do not get the 15-day quarantine period after 15 days of work…several doctors here have been working continuously since mid-March without even a day’s break,” said a senior doctor.
Dr. Sunil Kumar said, “Most of the government doctors are 60-plus with co-morbidities, yet they are engaged for COVID-19 duty despite our request not to do so.”
“Besides, 60% of the sanctioned posts of doctors in the State are vacant and the protective kits available here are also not of high quality,” he added.
Bihar has so far reported 450 deaths and 82,741 positive cases of COVID-19. Testing of samples has risen sharply, reaching 10,97,252, while 54,139 patients have recovered.