The Indian Medical Association announced a “non-violent movement”, to be held on March 20, wherein a march will be taken out from Sabarmati Ashram. Nearly 25,000 members of the IMA from all over the country will participate in the procession, sources said.
The decision was taken in a meeting held on January 12, an official statement from the IMA said on Wednesday. According to Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president of IMA, Maharashtra, the state unit has announced its plan for the event.
IMA Maharashtra has 210 branches, located in every major city, town and small taluka across the state, with a total of 43,500 members. All members will be contacted personally and sensitised about violence against doctors and hospitals, Dr Bhondwe said.
He added that medical students will be made aware of “unfair and draconian” laws by the government. Various social organisations, NGOs, rotary clubs, social workers and cultural associations will be informed about issues faced by doctors.
Doctors are pressing for legislation to prevent violence against doctors and the healthcare establishment. The bill was to be tabled in the current session of Parliament, but was withdrawn by the Union Home Ministry. With the draft legislation in public domain, the medical fraternity had expected that a law would be passed.
”However, IMA expects that the government will not go back on its word in this regard,” Dr Bhondwe said.
“It has demanded a comprehensive solution to stop violence. The proposed law is only a deterrent. Adequate security and declaring hospitals as safe zones are part of the demands as well. Social determinants of violence also have to be addressed.
Addressing infrastructure and human resources’ inadequacy in public hospitals, as well as tax-funded schemes to purchase care from private hospitals have been cited as possible solutions.”
Dr Bhondwe said if constitutional means fail to address the grievance, the profession will be free to launch its own defence at all costs.
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