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IMA writes to PM, Health Minister over AIIMS order to discontinue contact tracing of exposed HCWs

ANI | Updated: Apr 27, 2021 14:44 IST


New Delhi [India], April 27 (ANI): Days after AIIMS said that only the symptomatic health care workers will be tested for COVID-19, only those testing positive will be isolated and the quarantine of asymptomatic contacts will be discontinued, the Indian Medical Associaton (IMA) on Tuesday expressed strong resentment towards the order and said that it shows "unhumanitarian attitude" towards the healthcare workers who work with dedication and sincerity, amidst valiant threat to their and their family members' life with COVID, to rescue and safeguard human kind.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, IMA said, "When the healthcare worker (HCW) is exposed to COVID positive patient and get asymptomatic COVID, he is still a carrier and can spread infection to many in the pretext of executing treatment to poor patients. Not testing their disease status at the pretext of shortage of staff is lethal to fraternity and community."
Quoting the AIIMS order it said, "If the HCW is symptomatic he will be tested and if positive only 10 days quarantine is permitted. This is an absolute infringement on the basic right of HCW as a citizen to get minimum adequate care, support and time to revamp. MoHFW guidelines mandate minimum 17 days quarantine and rest after symptomatic cold."
The IMA in its letter stated that citing the AIIMS order, various other hospitals are also following this now. "If you tax and overstretch the existing staff, we will land up in acute crisis."
The IMA further stated that through the letter, it wants to set alarm the bell once again to highlight the impending manpower shortage during the pandemic.
It further requested to conduct the NEET PG and INCET PG exams on war footing, to make many postgraduates and junior doctors to join the service.

"1.78 lakh doctors are waiting for the exams, and till exams are over, they will not join the service," read the letter.
"IMA is looking forward to have your compassionate empathy towards the working HCW in the AIIMS and other health care institutions and revoke this order to provide early testing, comprehensive assured treatment opportunity for Health Care workers by allotting separate dedicated beds for them and handle with empathy towards HCW, suffering with the COVID-19 disease," concluded the letter.
On April 23, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences had said that only the symptomatic health care workers will be tested for COVID-19 and only those testing positive will be isolated and the quarantine of asymptomatic contacts will be discontinued.
It had said that the decision was taken in view of the current situation of COVID-19 leading to insufficient resources for contact tracing, and shortages of staff.
In a statement, AIIMS had said "In view of the current situation of COVID-19 leading to insufficient resources for contact tracing, and shortages of staff, the risk assessment and contact tracing of exposed HCW and quarantine of asymptomatic contacts should be discontinued. Only the symptomatic HCW should be tested and only those testing positives be isolated and managed as per the clinical condition."
AIIMS Delhi had further stated that asymptomatic HCW may join work 10 days from the date of the first positive test
"HCW who test positive may be able to join work after 10 days period from the onset of symptoms, provided that they are afebrile for at least last 24 hours without the use of antipyretics and symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved. Those who are asymphad said. (ANI)

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