Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has taken a number of steps to improve wellbeing of healthcare workers managing COVID-19. Few of the actions taken in this regard include:
- With the launch of COVID-19 vaccination initiative on 16th January 2021, Healthcare workers were identified as one of the first priority group. State Governments/ UT administrations have been repeatedly urged to ensure that the medical professionals engaged in Covid related work are suitably vaccinated.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices to the State Governments to minimize the risk of infection to healthcare workers.
- For high-risk exposures, healthcare workers are provided with a quarantine period initially for one week and thereafter taking the profile of the health worker a decision to be taken for further period of one week. An advisory to this effect for managing health care workers working in COVID and Non-COVID areas of the hospital was issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 18th June 2020.
- MoHFW on 18thJune 2020, as per directions issued by Hon’ble Supreme Court in a batch of writ petitions and in exercise of powers delegated under section 10(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, States/UTs have been directed to ensure that salaries of doctors and healthcare workers during COVID-19 related duties shall be released on time.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in consultation with Department of Personnel Training has also directed State Governments to consider quarantine period of healthcare workers as ‘on duty’.
- Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has also issued direction to the Chief Secretary of the States/Union Territories on provision for accommodation facilities for quarantine of healthcare workers. States/UTs were also advised to explore various rostering options.
- In the context of COVID-19, the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated on 22ndApril 2020. Further this ordinance was brought before the Parliament has been passed and notified on 29thSeptember 2020. The amendment provides for safety and security of Health care Service Personnel (HSPs) from acts of violence.
- Life insurance benefits (Rs. 50 lakhs to 22.12 lakh healthcare providers) are provided under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP): Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19. The benefits under the said scheme have been extended w.e.f. 21st October 2021 for a further period of 180 days.
The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated this in awritten reply in the LokSabha today.
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