India: India’s top doctors have been told they must wear masks when entering hospital, and it will be compulsory for them to wear one article India’s medical board has ordered hospitals across the country to require their doctors to wear masks, saying it would be “unnecessary” for them.
The move follows the deaths of two young patients who died in critical condition after being treated with the anti-infective drug clindamycin in late March.
The board of the Indian Medical Association said it would issue a regulation by next Monday requiring all doctors to use masks and to inform their patients about it.
“The rule is aimed at providing medical personnel with a safe environment and ensuring that they do not pose a risk to themselves or others.
This will be in line with the Indian National Medical Association’s guideline on safe use of disinfectants, which recommends against any use of chlorine gas, chlorine or any other chemical disinfectants in hospitals,” the AMA said in a statement on Thursday.
The board said it was also considering the proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to require that all hospitals in the country must post signs in the corridors informing patients of the dangers of using chlorine gas.
According to a recent report by the health ministry, the use of chlorinated bleach in hospitals is a major cause of illness among children under the age of five.
India has among the highest rates of deaths in the world for respiratory diseases, with about 60,000 deaths annually and an estimated 10,000 of those due to the common cold.
But the government has said that the new measures were aimed at protecting health workers.
An Indian official said the move was aimed at preventing patients from contracting the common illness, and that it would not affect their health care.
Indian Medical Association president Rishi Kapoor said that it was the right step to tackle the rising number of hospital infections, but that it did not take away any patient’s right to refuse to receive care.
“We will not take any steps that are arbitrary and will not force anyone to go to a hospital,” he told The Hindu newspaper.
Dr Kapoor told The Indian Express that he had been in touch with several health ministers across the world to seek support for the measure.