Around 350 nurses, who were serving in hospitals in Kolkata, have quit their jobs and returned to to Imphal due to alleged racial discrimination faced by them in the city.
‘We face racism and people sometimes spit on us’
One of the nurses, identified as Cristella, said, “We are not happy that we left our duty. But we face discrimination, racism and people sometimes spit on us.” She said that people would often call them “corona” while they were on their way to attend duty. People also targeted and questioned them when they stepped out of their houses to buy essentials. “We felt unsafe there,” she added.
Shortage of safety gears for hospital staff
Besides racial discrimination, she also raised the issue of shortage of medical facilities and safety gears for healthcare professionals in the hospitals. She told the news agency ANI that hospital authorities denied testing to staff citing that government procedures do not permit testing of healthcare professionals until they develop some serious symptoms of the disease. Moreover, she added that there was a shortage of PPE kits and hospital authorities did not provide adequate information about suspected COVID-19 patients.
In another incident, an ambulance driver allegedly harassed two Manipuri women in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, last week. He accused them of spreading COVID-19 infection and asked them to “go to China”. The affected women said that the accused even assaulted and verbally abused them after hurling racial slurs. They had faced several such incidents in the recent past, one of the affected women said.
RN Tagore Hospital, Medica, IRIS Multispeciality Hospital, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals Limited, AMRI hospital, Fortis Healthcare Limited, Charnock Hospital and Belle Vue have all been affected due to mass resignation of the nurses. To deal with the situation, the hospitals are attending to limited number of patients and started counselling the existing employees to prevent them from resigning amid the spurt in COVID-19 cases.