The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday announced the establishment of a fund dedicated to its member doctors who have died in the line of duty while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.The association has planned to raise money by donations from its members and the public, including the registered institutions. The fund will be used to pay an ex-gratia sum to the legal heir of the deceased doctors with certain conditions, the association informed.
The conditions include that the deceased should be below 70 years of age, have been a life member of IMA on the date of death, the cause of death should be due to COVID-19 disease, should have been in active practice while acquiring COVID-19, and should not be eligible for any grant or compensation from the central or state governments, the eligibility criteria set by the apex institution of private medical practitioners stated.
The association told IANS that as many as 625 of its members have succumbed to the disease in the service of the nation for COVID-19 care.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the members of IMA who are in the frontline of COVID-19 care and control. As of today, 625 modern medicine doctors have sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation for COVID-19 care. Indian Medical Association hereby institutes a dedicated fund to financially help the families of IMA members who are COVID-19 martyrs," the association stated.
"The legal heir of the deceased member of IMA can apply for financial help. The legal heir can submit the application to the local branch secretary of IMA who will forward it through the State Secretary of IMA to the Honorary Secretary General of IMA. The local branch secretary or the state secretary or the Honorary Secretary General can initiate the process suo moto as well," the association informed.
However, the association will also have a flexible approach towards the criteria set for the eligibility of the martyr's fund.
"Flexibility criteria Irrespective of membership and age the case of a modern medicine doctor who has martyred in the service of the nation in COVID-19 will be taken up by the National President of IMA by an appeal from the family if there are genuine situations of need for help," the IMA clarified.
The association also informed that a team consisting of the president, immediate past president, president-elect, vice presidents as per jurisdiction, secretary-general and finance secretary would scrutinise the applications and sanction money to the applicant. However, the financial condition of the deceased's family would determine the quantum of monetary help.
"The quantum of money to be paid will be decided by the national president in consultation with the above team of office bearers as per the availability of funds. The quantum will be determined as per the family situation including employment, income, children, assets, liabilities etc.," the association stated.
"The money will be paid to the legal heir. In case of more than one legal heir, the money will be divided equally between them," it added.