This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Dua Subzwari. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Spoke To 2 Aspiring Doctors On How Covid-19 Is Making Them Question Their Choices

More from Dua Subzwari

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The great Greek physician Hippocrates once quoted, “Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity. ” Doctors, no doubt, put their sweat and blood in treating the patients. The amount of hard work they employ during those 5+ years of graduation can never be imagined. Things do not end here, they further dedicate their entire lives to the patients they treat. However, the world still looks at them as ‘money-making machines’. They are thought of as people who do M.B.B.S only for the sake of money. But the question for the modern-day population is, “Aren’t the doctors paying a heavy price for entering the profession?” The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world badly and escalated pressure on doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff members. The role played by healthcare professionals is enormous, it can’t be measured. Various serious issues concerning the healthcare staff can be seen during this harsh time. The biggest problem faced by medical team members is safety. They are not safe in the true sense, especially in India. The first thing to be discussed in this context is the lack of PPE kits. In March, many doctors had to wear raincoats and helmets as there was no proper protective equipment available. A report by Reuters claimed that India needs at least 38 million masks and 6.2 million PPEs. There was also speculation that the country required over one lakh PPE kits per day in March but the number of kits available was very low. This forced doctors to compromise with their protection and safety, which resulted in many doctors’ contagion to the virus. Since the onset of the infection, along with the general public, many doctors have also tested positive. The matter is of great concern as doctors and healthcare workers have been the frontline soldiers fighting against this pandemic while risking their lives. Lack of proper medical protection kits is humiliating and unsafe at the same time.

2 lady doctors injured in this incident

The problem doesn’t end here. The country’s doctors and medical staff are being attacked by mobs. Many incidents have occurred so far where people attacked the healthcare workers when they were on the ground for testing.

  • In mid-April, healthcare staff members in Indore were surrounded by almost 100 people who threw stones at them. They somehow managed to escape, but a few of the members got hurt. The burden of mental trauma caused to them is heavier than the physical one.
  • Another demeaning incident occurred in Chennai. Dr Simon Hercules died after being infected with the coronavirus. He lost his life fighting for people who later refused the burial of his body in the cemetery. The locals pelted stones at the ambulance, family members, and colleagues of Dr Simon. Feeling helpless, the colleagues dug the grave with bare hands and buried him.

Incidents like these question the morality of people. A doctor died serving the nation and that’s the kind of tribute he gets. The safety of healthcare workers has always been of grave concern. But limits have been crossed this time. How doctors are being treated in India is somehow affecting the spirits of young and aspiring medics. The unsafe and disrespectful environment is making them question their decisions. The hard work they put in for becoming a doctor has started to feel like a total waste of time and money.

“Do We Deserve This Humiliation? The Answer Is A Resounding NO”

Tarishi Kabra is an aspiring Doctor and has completed her MBBS this year. On asking about what she feels about the current scenarios in which doctors are coping up with fighting the virus and saving themselves from the mob at the same time, she says:

“Let me answer that question by putting some light on this incident where a doctor died serving the Corona patients and when it was time for his last rites, no one was there to take him to his grave. Instead of being respectful, people threw stones at him. After serving all his life in this noble profession, did he deserve this? Does his family deserve this humiliation? The answer is a big NO. Let us see what the stages in a doctor’s life are. So, we all know that it takes 5.5 years to be an M.B.B.S graduate, 3 years for doing the postgraduation, and we have super Specialisation after that. We just don’t get everything served in our plates, it’s sheer hard work that gets us through.  We have an entrance exam for everything and now exit exams too. Basically, we all know this, right?  What you don’t know is what we go through to get that tag!  There are not hundreds but thousands and millions of sleepless nights to learn and understand how to save someone’s life.  I might not be wrong by saying it takes our sweat and blood to become eligible to do what we do. We don’t get to go home for ages and in return, we don’t ask you to call us Gods. Respect is all we need. We spend more than half of our lives studying hence we deserve a better future. But the current scenario makes us question our choices. It disappoints us when we hear about an attack on or death of our colleague, we fear for the future. I still feel that the laws are not up to the point, strict laws need to be amended and strict actions should be taken against those causing harm or breaking the laws.  In this hardship of Corona, people still misbehave and want to run from isolation! A COVID-19 infected person needs to stay isolated for 14 days. What people don’t know is a doctor ttreating a COVID 19 patient needs to stay in isolation for another 21 days. If it’s hard for you, it’s much harder for the doctor.  Many celebrities are posting videos to render support the healthcare staff, which is appreciated. But this is not enough, where is our security?”

Image of two nurses on duty in a coronavirus ward
Representational image.

“We Are Also Humans, Please Understand That”

Another second-year MBBS student studying in KGMC, Lucknow conveys her thoughts on the condition of anonymity.

“Seeing the horrible incidents that are happening to the doctors makes me, an aspiring 3rd-year MBBS student feel a little bit uneasy. It makes me question my choice and struggles I’ve put in to reach here. We and our seniors spend day and night studying hard, attending clinical postings, missing vacations and family to serve the country at all costs, to serve the people, and seeing this kind of response from people makes us feel sad.  It has obviously made us feel insecure and scared, and especially our parents who are more concerned and worried than anyone else. I’ve seen resident doctors from my own college being attacked and there’s no one to save them. People watch it standing blindly as if it’s a show.  Violence against doctors has come to light to the general public only now, because of Covid19, the truth is we’ve been facing it since the beginning.  Long gone are the times when we were considered next to God. Now, we are really scared and we question our choices. But as our college logo says, ‘Sincerity, Service and Sacrifice’, we will stand firm as long as we can, serving the country at all costs. I’m scared but I’m not a coward. I will stand by my choices and will serve my purpose whenever needed. We just hope and wish for the people to understand that doctors are also humans. That’s all I ask as an MBBS aspirant.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has scarred many people but the doctors and medical staff are the worst affected. They need protection, safety, and respect. Stricter laws need to be implemented, fake news should be tackled, and scams need to stop. By the time all this happens, the general public should respect the healthcare staff as they are the frontline warriors during this harshest time humanity is facing.

You must be to comment.

More from Dua Subzwari

Similar Posts

By Accountability Initiative

By Srishti Pandey

By Sandhya Agrawal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below