Healthcare workers bear the brunt of Covid-19 in J&K

Those infected in line of duty included 529 doctors and 853 of the paramedical staff across the Union Territory, reports Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

The war against Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir is taking a heavy toll with many as 1,382 healthcare workers, including 529 doctors, contracting coronavirus while on duty since last March. While the actual number of the fatal casualties in the health sector is being ascertained, three of the doctors were confirmed as dead.

According to senior officials in the Health & Medical Education Department, those infected in line of duty included 529 doctors and 853 of the paramedical staff across the Union Territory.

The summer capital district of Srinagar, where all the major tertiary care hospitals are situated, took the brunt. Over two hundred of the infected doctors were from the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Srinagar, SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Shree Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital of Government Medical College Srinagar and its Super Specialty Hospital (SSH), Chest Disease Hospital Srinagar, Lal Ded Hospital and the government’s hospital for children.

Those who were infected — some of them multiple times — but recovered include Professor of Pulmonology at Chest Diseases Hospital Dr Naveed Nazir, Principal of GMC Srinagar Dr Samia Rashid, Professor of Urology at SKIMS Dr Saleem Wani, Professor of Endocrinology at SKIMS Dr Ashraf Ganai, Professor of CVTS at SKIMS Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone and more than 20 other professors and faculty members at SKIMS and GMC Srinagar and SSH Srinagar.

The SKIMS Soura, which dedicated a number of its wards for the Covid patients and created space for 300 beds, which is now being augmented to 500 beds, mostly having ICU and related facilities, faced the major brunt in Srinagar.

A number of senior professors and top hospital administrators were also infected in Jammu which has witnessed less number of infections as compared to the Kashmir division but more fatalities than Kashmir in during the so-called second wave in the current year. Since 18 March 2020, as many as 3,870 Covid-related fatalities have been reported from J&K — 1,982 in Kashmir and 1,888 in Jammu.

In all 2,88,940 persons contracted Covid-19 in J&K — 1,77,738 in Kashmir and 1,11,202 in Jammu. Of them 2,47,393 recovered fully — 1,52,436 in Kashmir and 94,95 in Jammu.

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While the Kashmir division witnessed more infections and deaths during the first wave in the year 2020, the Jammu division took the main brunt in 2021. Notwithstanding the lesser number of the infections, it surpassed the Kashmir division in terms of the deaths.

According to the statistics maintained by the Indian Medical Association, as many as 513 doctors have died across India due to Covid-19 and three of them were from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Working against heavy odds and distancing themselves from their families, the healthcare workers have contained the pandemic to a great extent. The total number of the active positive cases has come down from 51,000 to 37,677 in the last two weeks. Currently there are 23,320 active positive cases in Kashmir and 14,357 in Jammu.

“Many of us were infected along with our full families. Many of us didn’t see the faces of their children and aged parents for months together. Many of us contracted the infection more than once. Many of us were ourselves under treatment but suggesting prescriptions to our Covid patients. It has made a hell of our life. But thank God we are fighting it successfully and promoting vaccination through television, radio and social media”, said Dr Ashraf Ganai, Professor of Endocrinology at SKIMS, Srinagar.

The spokesperson of Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mir Mushtaq who himself had tested positive for Covid-19 and remained admitted in SKIMS last year said: “Our healthcare workers have done a commendable job in leading the battle against the Covid which is still a new disease. But despite all odds, they are working hard to provide the best quality healthcare to the patients. Unfortunately, in line of duty they also get infected, but without caring for their lives they work hard for the betterment of patient care in all hospitals.”

Of the 513 doctors consumed by Covid-19 in India, 103 have died in Delhi, 96 in Bihar and 41 during the second wave in the UP. According to the IMA, 39 doctors have died in Rajasthan followed by 29 each in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand.

(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

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