A frontline COVID-19 health worker from Amritsar, Punjab has allegedly died by suicide after the non-payment of her late husband’s dues by the government. Reports suggest her husband too, was a doctor, who died undergoing COVID-19 treatment in August this year. The husband and wife, both of whom were doctors playing significant roles in Amritsar’s fight against the pandemic, reportedly left behind two children – a son and a daughter.
The woman, identified by NDTV as Dr Sonia Sharma, was reported to have ended her life on Monday. Sources told the media channel that Dr Sharma, who worked as an officer with Amritsar Municipal Corporation, was upset about the government’s pending dues to her husband Dr Arun Sharma, who had been a Senior Medical Officer at the Amritsar Civil Hospital.
Punjab’s health department has however claimed otherwise, saying that Rs 50 lakh were paid to Dr Arun Sharma’s family following his death.
Dr Arun Sharma’s Viral Video
“He was a brilliant and diligent officer of the health department and was enthusiastically battling against Covid-19 in the front line since March,” Punjab’s health and family welfare minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, who attended Dr Sharma’s cremation, was quoted saying.
Frontline Workers Bear The Brunt
The pandemic’s ravages have claimed the lives of several frontline health workers since March. In October, the Indian Medical Association stated, “Our latest figures say 515 doctors treating COVID-19 patients have been martyred in the country so far.” Slamming the centre over inaction, the IMA had earlier in the year also made a statement that brought notice to the authorities’ “abdication of duty and abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people.”
Women, meanwhile, have contributed significantly to the fights against COVID-19 as ‘Corona Warriors.’ Sagai Nair, from Pune, was reported to have been burying patients who died from COVID-19 at Salisbury Park Missionary Cemetery. She performed the last rites for many unclaimed bodies, or on behalf of the relatives who are not allowed to go near the infected bodies. SheThePeople also spoke to two frontline warriors on their first-hand experiences. Read the interview here.