Tributes to Frontline Health and Sanitation Workers Who Fell To Covid-19

IN India, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases among frontline sanitation and healthcare workers and staff is 1073, among whom there have been 61 fatalities. The actual number of deaths could be much higher.

For instance, in Mumbai alone, over 1,500 frontline Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers were noted to be infected with Covid-19 till May 28, 25 of whom had succumbed to the virus. In April, a 52-year-old woman sanitation worker of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) was suspected to have died of Covid-19. Her family said, “We were verbally told that she had contracted the coronavirus infection. She was only given a mask by EDMC to carry out her duties -- she did not even have gloves on.” A woman teacher deputed on ration distribution duty in North Delhi area succumbed to Covid-19 in early May.

These courageous workers put their lives on the line to fight Covid-19. But saluting their courage does not mean that we forget how most of these deaths could have been avoided, had the Governments been less apathetic and callous. The Modi Government’s failure to warn and prepare on time for the pandemic; and its failure to provide even proper PPE kits to frontline workers, and the chronically weak state of public healthcare in India, is responsible in large measure for many of these deaths.  



Sister Kabita Dutta Majumder, 55, was on duty as the Ward Incharge Nursing Officer at Barasat District Hospital till she contracted high fever on 15 May. Refused treatment at many hospitals, she was eventually admitted to a private hospital in Barrackpore for ten days, where tests for Covid-19 showed negative. She was then brought to Kolkata for treatment at R G Kar Medical College and Hospital on 25 May, and passed away on 1 June. Posthumously, it was confirmed that she had Covid-19.   

A 58-year-old sanitation supervisor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Shri Heera Lal, succumbed to Covid-19. Sanitation workers, most of whom are from dalit communities, even in normal times, are denied basic protective gear and are expected to handle hazardous and human waste by hand. During the pandemic, they are expected to keep working while being denied basic wages and rights, not to mention protective gear.

We pay tribute to all those frontline and essential workers who have fallen to Covid-19. Below, we list those names of the frontline worker victims that we do have, recognising that there may be many more whose names are not on this list. We salute each and every one of them, and demand better rights for frontline workers.

1. Dr Shatrughan Punjwani , Indore
2. Dr Om Prakash Chauhan, Indore
3. Dr Sanat Dalal, Indore
4. Dr Simon Hercules, Chennai
5. Dr John L Sailo Ryntathiang , Shillong
6. Dr Nizammudin, Moradabad
7. Dr Laxminarayan Reddy Nellore
8. Anonymous Ayurvedic Govt doctor, Bulandshahar
9. Dr K M Ismail Hussain , Kurnool
10. Dr Shah Ashfaq, Govandi, Mumbai
11. Dr N L Hera, Itarsi
12. Dr Bimal Kanti Dasgupta , Kolkata
13. Dr Sisir Mondol , Kolkata
14. Dr Ranjit Singh ,Mumbai
15. Dr Abhay Agarwal, Bijnore, UP
16. Anonymous Dr, Jahangirpuri, Delhi
17. Dr Sunil Agarwal, Lucknow
18. Anonymous Dr, Amravati
19. Dr Om Saraf, Mumbai
20. Dr Anil Bahulekar ,Mumbai
21. Dr Sanjay Shelar ,Pune
22. Prof J N Pande , AIIMS
23. Dr B K Sharma ,Indore
24. Dr Aditya Upadhyay, Ahmedabad
25. Dr Kamlesh Tailor, Ahmedabad
26. Dr Ramesh Patel, Ahmedabad
27. Dr M A Ansari, Ahmedabad
28. Dr Chittaranjan Bhave, Mumbai
29. Dr Pankaj Shah,Ahmedabad
30. Dr Rajedra P Yadav, Delhi
31. Anonymous physician, Meerut
32. Dr Sunil Agarwal, Sitapur
33. Dr Vinod Raja , Chennai
34. Dr Abani Kumar Nag, Kolkata
35. Dr Ajay Joshi, Indore
36. Dr Mithilesh, Mu,mbai
37. Dr U K Ghose, Delhi
38. Anonymous physician, Hyderabad
39 Dr Parag Patil, Kalyan
40. Dr Asif Shaikh, Bhiwandi
41. Dr Yasmeen Gani, Bhiwandi
42. Dr Seeman Mullah Bhiwandi
43. Dr Hariah Kumar, Delhi
44.Dr Bhavesh Topiwala, Indore
45. Dr Shaukat Ali, Mumbai
46. Dr Ashwini P. Singh, Delhi
47. Dr Yasir Naseem, Delhi
48. Dr M Narayanan, Chennai

Paramedics & other staff

1. Mr Vijay Chandel, Ward Boy, Ahmedabad
2. Ms Ambika, Staff nurse, Delhi
3. Mr Kheem Singh, Doctor's mess, AIIMS
4. Mr Heera Lal, Sanitation chief, AIIMS
5. Ms Joan Mary Prescilla, NS, Chennai
6. Ms Anita Mondal, Behrampur
7. Ms Kabita Dutta Majumder, Nurse, Kolkata
8. Mr Sukhdev Bag, Pharmacist, Kolkata
9. Mr. Bishnu Chatterjee, Optometrist, Siliguri
10. Mr. Devesh Sharma, Pharmacist, Hathras
11. Sister Raichel Joseph, Delhi
12. Mr Rakesh Jain, Technician, Delhi
13. Anonymous X-Ray technician, Delhi

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