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No govt support for resident doctors infected with Covid, Karnataka association alleges

According to the association, an estimated 6,000 resident doctors are now in service across government and private medical colleges in the state, of which 2,000 are in Bengaluru alone.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
April 25, 2021 12:31:06 pm
Bengaluru Urban reported 22,596 infections. (Express photo)

The Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) has accused the state government of not providing any support to resident doctors getting infected with Covid-19 while treating patients.

“Around a thousand resident doctors have tested positive so far, since last year. However, the government has not taken care of any yet, and no remedy has been provided at all. The amount of mental strain this puts on us is enormous,” KARD President Dr Dayanand Sagar told Indianexpress.com.

According to the association, an estimated 6,000 resident doctors are now in service across government and private medical colleges in the state, of which 2,000 are in Bengaluru alone.

Dr Sagar added, “The government has not provided us with quarantine facilities for those who test positive. We have not had hotel quarantine facility for the past six months as wellThis has led to us infecting our dear ones at home as well, for which we have to pay from our own pockets again.” He also demanded that beds should be reserved for frontline Covid warriors in case they develop moderate symptoms.

The Association has also written to the Principal Secretary of the Medical Education Department demanding Covid-risk allowance. “While Covid-risk allowance of Rs 20,000 is being given to doctors appointed by BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike), NHM (National Health Mission) and for Medical Officers of the Health and Family Welfare Department, we demand a consolidated pay of Rs 90,000 including risk allowance as we provide both specialist care and Covid duties,” the letter read.

Dr Sagar also claimed the government “chose to ignore the demand” put forth by resident doctors to waive off the college fee for a year as Covid duties have affected the prospects of resident doctors developing a special skill set.

“Karnataka charges most for a government medical student in the country at Rs 1.2 lakh as fees while we get paid the least despite the hike in stipend announced earlier this year,” he noted.

A postgraduate resident doctor on duty at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) agrees with Dr Sagar. “We have got nearly no academic benefit and specialty skills as we have been doing nothing but Covid duty. These three years when we expect maximum learning and exposure are really important for our careers ahead,” the PG doctor said.

Meanwhile, KARD announced, “Until the medical education department in Karnataka realises its role in training future doctors, we will not pay the tuition fee for the next academic year. We also demand that the tuition fee collected for the previous academic year is refunded.”

On Saturday, Karnataka reported 29,438 new infections and 208 more deaths linked to the pandemic. Of these, 17,342 cases and 149 deaths were reported from Bengaluru Urban alone.

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