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PMGKP benefits reach families of less than half the docs who died on covid duty

The IMA has said that stringent norms and continued administrative apathy are holding back PMGKP benefits from families of doctors who died while serving covid patients. (Bloomberg)Premium
The IMA has said that stringent norms and continued administrative apathy are holding back PMGKP benefits from families of doctors who died while serving covid patients. (Bloomberg)

  • The Indian Medical Association has alleged that families of only 287 out of the 756 doctors who have died serving covid patients, have received benefits of PMGKP

NEW DELHI : New Delhi: The families of less than half the medical practitioners who lost their lives while they were involved in providing care for covid-19 patients have been able to avail of the benefits of the government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP), the Indian Medical Association (IMA) alleged on Monday.

The IMA has said that due to the stringent norms and continued administrative apathy, the families of only 287 out of the 756 doctors (modern medicine) who have died serving covid patients, have received benefits of PMGKP. The scheme, announced in March 2020, has been extended thrice—the latest till 24 April 2021.

“Indeed, there is an apparent delay from the families in seeking help as most are shattered and entangled in the procedural difficulties in getting legal heir certificates, cause of death certificates, certificate of authenticity to prove they have worked in covid healthcare, and the rise in the pandemic," said Dr Jayesh M. Lele, secretary general, IMA, in a letter written to the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

The scheme was launched to provide a safety net to the health workers fighting covid-19 to ensure that in case of any adversity due to covid-19, their families are taken care of. Insurance cover of Rs50 lakh is provided under the PMKGP scheme.

“Many applications are still stacked up in joint directorates of their districts. In response to the list and details of martyred doctors submitted by IMA, the central bureau of health intelligence has taken up the responsibility to trace and verify the list of martyrs," he said.

The Union health ministry on Monday said PMGKP insurance policy claims of covid warriors will continue to be settled till 24 April 2021, and thereafter a fresh insurance policy for covid warriors will become effective. It added that 287 claims have been settled by the insurance company so far. "The scheme has played a crucial role in boosting the morale of the health workers fighting covid-19," reads a statement from the ministry.

As the second wave of the pandemic is spreading, the World Health Organization has warned that 14% of healthcare professionals are likely to be infected, and the mortality among them is much more than among the general public. Therefore, we need to keep this insurance option open and make it much more user-friendly, the IMA s.

“There is a growing shortage of doctors as they are overworked and stressed; it is the responsibility of the government to keep their morale high with adequate care and open-minded support. IMA appeals to extend the PMGKP insurance for another 6 months, expedite and ease the procedures and ensure all our healthcare professionals are recognized, honoured as martyrs, and adequately compensated for their dedicated services and comfort their families with motherly attitude," said Lele in the letter.

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