Rights of Healthcare Worker During Pandemic
The global pandemic has shaken the
world by devastating the lives of the citizens across the globe and also by
destroying the economy severely. India has recently witnessed a second wave
which had infected 3.08 Crore people and had taken 4.06 lakhs
lives as of now and it continues to grow. The healthcare workers are the
front-line warriors against the Corona battle and are performing their duties
by curing the people through treatment and increasing the immunity of the
nation by applying vaccines.
Healthcare workers are performing their duty diligently and serving the nation with a service attitude. While performing their duties towards the nation many healthcare workers had lost their lives. The Government of India informed Lok Sabha that 174 doctors, 116 nurses, and 199 healthcare workers have died due to COVID-19 in the country, as per the data received under an insurance scheme. So, what about the rights of our frontline warriors? What about their protection of life and safety? We don’t even have any centralized have been raised by healthcare workers and various organizations about their safety, security, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and most importantly mental and financial support. The government of India has introduced Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, amending the previous Act of 1897 to make violence against healthcare workers a non-bailable and cognizable offence. This act only talks about the violence during the pandemic but it’s a day-to-day problem of healthcare workers. This act also doesn’t cover the other aspects such as it doesn’t ensure financial and occupational safety of health workers.
There aren’t any laws that
specifically deal with protecting and preserving the rights of healthcare
workers, considering various aspects like a safe work environment, proper
training, mental health care, input and accountability, financial and
occupational stability, safety, and hygiene. Although, they are protected with
constitutional criminal civil laws and various statutory laws, treaties,
international laws, and conventions. We have only generic laws to protect our
frontline warriors. But we do have to mention of rights of healthcare workers
in the Geneva convention and in the constitution of the USA.
to the Geneva Conventions and the Constitution of the United States of America
right to protect themselves from any physical attack.
right to have respectful and sensible behavior from the superiors or employer and patients for whom
they treat, care and cure and to be free from any sort of harassment,
attack, and also to be free from any verbal and mental abuse.
right to register a complaint against them and the same can be done by pursuing the complaint
through the hospital system or in a court of law without risk to their
right to have professional tools to perform their duties and obligations.
During the current scenario, we are seeing many healthcare workers don’t
even have the access to PPE kits and suits in order to test and protect
themselves from Corona Virus.
right to not endanger their lives, physical health, and wellness or the
health or life of their family for their patients.
right to have professional and personal work balance and time management
in order to keep them nourished, hydrated and healthy. 
The United States had introduced the
Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1970 under which they have established an authority
that specifically deals with the health and safety of Health care workers and
enforces standards to ensure healthful working conditions for working. 
These laws seem to work fine but we
need more dedicated laws for the protection of healthcare workers. Various
organizations are planning to draft statutes in order to protect the interest
of healthcare workers not only at the national but at the international level.
The International Labor Organization instructed all members of the organization
to establish a national system for occupational health and safety, which shall
include statutes and regulations related to occupational health and safety. 
There are various laws and statutes
which protect the rights of our frontline workers but these acts and statutes
are not completely dedicated to their interests and that’s why there’s a lacuna
and I have tried to cover some of it through my suggestions.
- Personal Protective Equipment:
healthcare workers should have professional tools and equipment such as PPE Kit in order to
protect them from the deadly virus.
- Testing for COVID-19: - They should have access to the
new technologies and innovations in order to detect this virus in patients
if they are affected by it or not by having access to Rapid Antigen Test
kits and RT-PCR Test.
- Safe Work Environment: - They should have access to all
sorts of equipment, healthcare
facilities like ventilation systems and should have necessary standards to protect the
patients by preventing the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks and
adhering to social distancing.
- Safe Staffing and Training: - They should have a sensible and
respectful work environment and should be free of any harassment, abuse,
and violence. They should have proper training in order to manage the current situation of
the pandemic. It must ensure staffing levels that keep healthcare workers
and patients safe.
- Mental Wellness: - They should have sessions with
trained professionals in order to deal with anxiety, pressure, stress,
trauma, and uncertainty of getting covid as they work in extremely
dangerous situations. This cost should be borne by the government or any other agency which is
providing any type
of health service.
- Temporary Housing and Lodging:
should have access to high-quality accommodation in nearby areas in order to avoid the exposure of getting covid to the
family and society and should have nutrient-rich food in their daily diet to
keep them healthy and active during their shifts.
- Occupation and Financial
Safety: - They
should have financial and occupational stability so that they can fulfill their duty without concern about their or theirs’s family
safety and security. They should also be provided additional paid time,
child support and should be provided compensation and pensions in case of
any unfortunate event.
- Protecting Life and Liberty: - They should have the protection
of life and liberty and laws should be made specifically in order to
facilitate better security not during the pandemic but throughout their
laws are already there to protect their civil and criminal rights but
there’s an urgent need to introduce a separate act for our front line