Rights of Healthcare Worker During Pandemic

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[1] 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[2] 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.[3]

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.

According to the Geneva Conventions and the Constitution of the United States of America

  1. The right to protect themselves from any physical attack.
  2. The 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.
  3. The 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 employment.
  4. The 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.
  5. The right to not endanger their lives, physical health, and wellness or the health or life of their family for their patients.
  6. The right to have professional and personal work balance and time management in order to keep them nourished, hydrated and healthy. [4]


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. [5]


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. [6]


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.

  1. Personal Protective Equipment: - All healthcare workers should have professional tools and equipment such as PPE Kit in order to protect them from the deadly virus.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.[7]


  1. 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.


  1. Temporary Housing and Lodging: - They 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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 service. Indian 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 warriors.  [8] 








[1] COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University; Available at; https://github.com/; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:00 Pm.


[2] 174 Doctors, 116 Nurses, 199 Health Workers Died Due to Covid: Centre Available at; https://www.ndtv.com; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:10 Pm.


[3] India’s healthcare workers are the most vulnerable, but there is no framework for their health; Available at; https://theprint.in/opinion/; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:20 Pm.


[4] Patient Responsibilities, Health Care Workers Rights (for a Change); Available at; https://journals.lww.com; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:30 Pm.


[5] India’s healthcare workers are the most vulnerable, but there is no framework for their health; Available at; https://theprint.in/opinion/; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:40 Pm.



[6] India’s healthcare workers are the most vulnerable, but there is no framework for their health; Available at; https://theprint.in/opinion/; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:45 Pm.


[7] Covid-19 Resources; Available at; https://nuhw.org; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:50 Pm.


[8] Covid-19 Resources; Available at; https://nuhw.org; Last seen on 09 July 2021 at 08:55 Pm.



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