In a bid to deploy as many health-care workers to the front line, the Centre today announced that the final year MBBS students, qualified nurses can be utilized for COVID-19 duties. Moreover, the NEET exams are also cancelled for at least 4 months & the exams won’t be held till August 31st, 2021. This will ensure that the health-care facilities will have more personnel at their disposal.
The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, Mar 3, issued a new statement laying out the key decision made by Prime Minister Modi. These decisions are related to cancellation of PG exams for doctors, incentivizing final year medical students and interns to actively participate in COVID-19 duty, and more. The decision was taken in the wake of the resurgence of the second COVID-19 wave. On Sunday, the country registered as many as 3,70, 082 new cases taking the tally of total infections to 19.9 million cases.
Central Govt writes to states on the issue of augmenting human resources for COVID – 19
The letter reads," State/UT Governments are to make all efforts to reach out to each PG-NEET candidate and persuade them to join the Covid –19 workforce in this hour of need." pic.twitter.com/ymURdFejOj
— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2021
In its statement the Prime Minister’s Office said that soon the services of MBBS students who are in their final year will also be utilized. These final year students can provide services such as teleconsultation, and treatment of mild COVID-19 cases. It should be noted that these students will be under faculty supervision. The PMO’s statement said that this will “reduce the workload on existing doctors engaged in COVID-19 duty and provide boost to efforts of triaging.”
Additionally, it was decided that Final Year PG students (with general and super-specialities both) will continue to provide services as residents. This will continue till new batch of PG students join.
Qualified Nurses may also provide COVID-19 services
Further, qualified nurses with B.Sc./GNM (General Nurse Midwifery) qualifications may also be called to service as full-time COVID-19 nurses. Again, these services will be carried under the supervision of doctors.
Centre comes up with incentives for medical professionals
To incentivize as many professionals as it can, the Centre has come up with a few rewards for health care workers.
1) healthcare professionals that sign up for a minimum of 100 days COVID-19 duty and complete it, will receive the PM’s COVID-19 National Service Samman from the Government of India.
2) The Centre also said that all those health care professionals will be covered under Insurance Scheme of Government for Health Workers fighting COVID-19.
3) Individuals that actively complete their COVID-19 management service and complete their 100 days of COVID-19 duty, will be given priority in the Government recruitment exams that are held regularly.
In its statement the govt said that the medical students that will be eligible to service will be appropriately vaccinated. The press release also reiterated the value of health-care workers and professionals that have been actively fighting against the second wave.
“Doctors, nurses and allied professionals form the backbone of COVID-19 management and are also the frontline personnel. Their presence in adequate strength is critical to address the needs of the patients well. The stellar work and deep commitment of the medical community was taken note of,” said the press release as issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
NEET Postponed for next 4 months
The statement also said that the NEET-PG (National Eligibility Entrance Test for Post-Graduation) is postponed for the next four months. Students will be given a one month’s time before the commencement of exams.
A step taken way too late?
The decision comes after the Centre has received flak from the Indian masses for not anticipating the second wave of COVID-19. Moreover, the Modi-led government is also criticized for mismanaging the crisis as Mr. Modi himself was the face of BJP during the West Bengal assembly elections. During these elections, tens of thousands of people took parts in rallies and roadshows and all the COVID-19 safety norms were thrown to the window.
There are experts who have also indicated that the second wave of the pandemic would be all the more infectious thanks to Haridwar’s Kumbh Mela where swarms of people gathered without any regard of the virus.