According to the Indian Medical Association, 244 doctors have died due to COVID-19 in the second wave of the pandemic.
Anas Mujahid, 26, a junior Resident Doctor at Delhi’s Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital — a dedicated Covid specialty — died within hours of testing positive due to Covid. He is the youngest of 244 doctors who have lost their lives to Covid this year in India’s second wave. Last year, 736 doctors had lost their lives during the first wave. A total of nearly 1,000 doctors across India have lost their lives due to Covid so far.
Mujahid is survived by his parents and four siblings.
A week has gone by, but his friend and colleague Dr Aamir Sohail is still struggling to come to terms with the loss.
Mujahid had minor symptoms like sore throat and tested positive in an antigen test at the hospital. In a rare case of sudden progression, he collapsed soon after and died due to intracranial bleeding. He had not been vaccinated.
“It was shocking. He had no comorbidity. His parents also told us that he has never faced any health issue. We just could not understand how it happened,” Dr Aamir Sohail said.
“He had not been vaccinated. Many colleagues here, including me, have not taken the jab. Our process of getting vaccinated while being on Covid duty, is long. We have to inform superiors and get their signature etc. He was planning to get the jab in the next few days.”
Dr Sohail added that he got infected last month and had moderate symptoms and is now doing fine. But he said it was hard to comprehend how his friend, who seemed perfectly fine hours ago, suddenly faced such severe issues and died.
According to the Indian Medical Association, 244 doctors have lost their lives due to Covid in the second wave. Of them, 50 deaths were recorded yesterday. The highest number of fatalities have been reported from Bihar (69) followed by Uttar Pradesh (34) and Delhi (27).
Only 3 per cent of these doctors were fully vaccinated.
Five months into India’s vaccination drive, only 66 per cent of India’s healthcare workers have been fully vaccinated. The IMA said it is making all possible efforts to encourage doctors to take the jab.
Dr Jayesh Lele, the General Secretary of IMA, told NDTV, “It is very unfortunate that we lost 50 doctors yesterday across India and 244 in the second wave since the first week of April”.
The IMA, he said, has found that many doctors have not taken the vaccine and the organisation will do everything it can to ensure that all doctors who are on the frontline take the jab.
“Secondly we want to highlight that doctors are understaffed and overworked. They sometimes work for 48 hours at a stretch without any rest. This adds to the viral load and they ultimately succumb to the infection. The government needs to take measures to boost the healthcare workforce,” he added.
While the IMA says that a thousand doctors have died due to Covid so far, the actual numbers may be far higher. The IMA only keeps a record of its nearly 3.5 lakh members. India, however, has more than 12 lakh doctors.