In the wake of coronavirus pandemic and nationwide lockdown, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has appealed to all its members to provide ORS solution, water and locally-made energy bars with jaggery and puffed rice to migrants travelling on foot to reach their native places.
In a letter to all state presidents and state secretaries and all national office bearers, IMA national president Ranjan Sharma drew their attention to the migrants travelling on foot to reach their destination.
In another statement, the IMA also batted for cash transfer to the poor, investment of five per cent of the GDP in health by governments, and stimulus to clinics, small and medium hospitals being run as professional medical practice.
“India will slide down in health parameters, including lifespan, infant mortality and maternal mortality, if issues of unemployment and poverty are not addressed on war footing,” it said.
Sharma said that it was disturbing to see not a single food outlet open or anybody offering the migrants food or work and added that due to economic stress and lockdown they have started moving from their place of work.
“I would not like to enumerate the economic difficulties they must be facing. As we are engaged in the fight against COVID-19, it is also pertinent to mention here that we cannot, rather should not, shy away from our social responsibilities.
“It is my humble request to all my fellow colleagues of the country to find out a solution for COVID-19 labour on foot. The suggestions from my end are that if we can provide them ORS solution, water and locally-made energy bars with jaggery and puffed rice,” he said in the communique.
Responsibility is more on the IMA branches, near or on the highways and they need to take care of the people’s nutritional needs, Sharma said.
He also suggested setting up IMA counters on the highways where medical personnel can be deputed to thermal scan them and cater to the small medical issues of these people.
“The undersigned requests you to either kindly set up a counter on the highways or tie up with the local police and other relevant departments for the same. Many of us have already contributed to such activities including running of food services/community kitchens etc. Now let’s launch IMA Community Nutrition Kiosks,” Sharma said.
In the other statement, the organisation said the lockdown has partitioned India horizontally between haves and have nots.