IMA slams Maharashtra govt over providing PPE kits to doctors

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 02, 2020 Published on July 02, 2020

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday had asked senior doctors above 55 years to return to their private practice, as they have a lot of experience in treating patients.

Such doctors are to be provided with PPE kits by the State Government for Covid protection.

However, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Maharashtra State President, Avinash Bhondwe told BusinessLine that the doctors in private practice across Maharashtra have not received the PPE kits. In Mumbai, the municipal corporation had also declared that they would provide PPE to the private doctors but till date no such kits have reached them.

On May 14, IMA office bearers in a meeting with Chief Secretary and Health Secretary of Maharashtra Government had demanded to standardise the quality and price for the PPE kits. There was never a demand for free kits by the IMA. This demand was agreed at the meeting but still there is no further action. IMA had suggested that PPE kits from registered vendors of DRDO could be bought, he said.

A PPE kit and a N95 mask needs to be of a specific quality with fibres of a specific microns with anti-pathogen properties. In a month, almost 50 PPE kits are required by a single doctor.

Bhondwe said that due to lack of standardization, companies are selling spurious kits to the doctors for quick money. IMA has demanded that the prices of such kits should be capped. The doctors are ready to pay the price, which was extant on December 31, 2019. At that time N95 mask was for ₹45 and PPE kits for ₹450. Today it has increased to ₹180-250 for the mask, while a PPE kit costs anywhere between ₹1,200 and ₹1,800. This is just gold plating of profits.

He said that of the various issues faced by the doctors in Maharashtra, a positive response and healthy engagement is lacking from the offices of the Chief Minister, Home and Health Minister and the secretaries of their departments. IMA has 216 branches in Maharashtra and 45,000 members. Senior doctors without any co morbid conditions can work for at least two hours a day. IMA can facilitate that process, provided the State Government keeps the dialogue active.

A mid-level surgeon in a large public hospital in Mumbai told BusinessLine that due to uncertainty over the quality of PPE, a number of senior surgeons and physicians have been asked by their juniors to stay at home. Only in complicated medical cases they are being called.

These issues were raised by BusinessLine with the Health Secretary of Maharashtra but at the time of going to press there was no response from his office.

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Published on July 02, 2020
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