Days after reports of harassment and attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in parts of the country, the Odisha government on Tuesday announced a series of measures for their financial and physical security as they work to treat COVID-19 patients in the state.
The state government announced a package of Rs 50 lakh for deceased healthcare personnel as well as the status of state martyrs, along with other measures. This announcement comes days after the state government paid four months’ salary in advance to doctors and health workers as a gesture of appreciation.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s office released a video clip, where he stated, “In the absence of any cure or vaccine, those fighting the war for us are taking a huge risk by putting themselves in the front. We have a rich tradition of honouring our bravehearts, who fight for the country and acknowledge their supreme sacrifice”.
“In the same spirit, we propose to recognise and honour the valiant work being done by our COVID warriors. The state government, in convergence with the Government of India initiative, will ensure that Rs 50 lakh is given for all health personnel, both private and public, and members of all support services, who lose their precious lives in the fight against COVID-19.”, Patnaik announced. A source in the CMO added that this amount is also reserved for police personnel, ambulance staff and paramedics who may lose lives in service.
“The state will treat them as martyrs and will provide state funerals with state honours. A detailed scheme of ours will be instituted recognizing their unparalleled sacrifice. These awards will be given on National Days”, Patnaik continued.
Announcing further incentive for government health employees, he added, “The families of all government personnel, medical and other support services, will continue to receive full salary till the date of retirement”. Odisha Medical Services Association, one of the largest network of government doctors said this was a “welcome step”.
“As a community, we should be very grateful for this bold and selfless service being rendered by our doctors, health professionals, and other support services”, Patnaik said, warning, “Any act against them is an act against the state. In case anyone indulges in any act that will disturb or dishonour their work, very strict criminal action will be taken against them including invoking the provisions of the National Security Act.
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