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SECURING THE SAFETY OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FROM VIOLENCE AT THEIR WORKPLACES – A CONTEXTUAL SCRUTINY DURING THE PANDEMIC TIME IN INDIA

By Dr. Bindumol V C

In the words of FS Hughes, “Safety brings first aid to the uninjured”.
This quote holds true in the light of increasing attacks on the healthcare providers in India. Recent studies have shown that after the onslaught of the COVID – 19 pandemic, the violence against healthcare providers have increased manifold. Even though the International Labor Organization and its conventions have time and again held that right to a safe working environment is one among the infallible human rights, little has been done to address the violence perpetrated against the health care service providers in India. The need for an ample redressal of their grievances especially in healthcare emergencies is the need of the hour or otherwise, it may prove detrimental to the society at large. In addition to ensuring adequate treatment and safety of patients, a secure working environment for the healthcare personnel would further boost their morale. In India, there is no comprehensive central legislation which deals with ensuring the safety of the healthcare providers at their workplace even though some states have their legislation in place. The epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance,2020 seems to be a step in the right direction. This paper seeks to address the need for urgent action to protect healthcare workers from violence at their workplaces and contemplates the viability of establishing an ombudsman for the same. Moreover, it also analyses the essence of COVID-19 related attacks and an overview of actions taken to minimize their impact in India.
Keywords: Safety of personnel, Healthcare during COVID-19 pandemic, defining violence, laws in existence, adequacy thereof, the institution of ombudsman.

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©2020- Lex Humanitariae: Journal for a Change

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