COVID-19 Second Wave

As COVID-19 cases rise sharply, Defence Ministry recruits 400 retired Army Medical Corps and Short Service Commission doctors under the ‘Tour of Duty’ scheme

Published : May 10, 2021 11:40 IST

Two Army field hospitals from the north-eastern region being shifted by air to Patna, Bihar, to assist the government in fighting the second wave of COVID-19, on May 6. Photo: PTI

Faced with what Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) chief scientist, has called a rapidly spreading, more contagious COVID-19 variant that may be dodging vaccine protection, India is desperate to fortify its pool of frontline workers, especially medical doctors. In a move that will help this cause, the Ministry of Defence has issued an order on May 8 permitting the Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services (DG AFMS) to recruit 400 ex-Army Medical Corps (AMC)/Short Service Commission (SSC) medical officers.

These 400 ex-AMC/SSC medical officers, who were released from service between 2017 and 2021, will be recruited on a contract basis for a maximum period of 11 months under the “Tour of Duty” scheme. They will be paid a fixed monthly remuneration. The amount would remain unchanged for the term of the contract and no other allowances would be paid. The medical officers are required to be medically fit as per civilian standards.

The AFMS has already deployed additional doctors, including specialists, super specialists and paramedics, at various hospitals to deal with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, SSC doctors of the AFMS have also been granted extension of service until December 31, a move which has augmented the strength of available doctors by 238. Medical professionals, recently retired from AFMS, have also been redeployed to further bolster the work force of health professionals. Superannuated and prematurely retired AMC medical personnel have also started manning the e-Sanjeevani OPD (https://esanjeevaniopd.in/), which is open to all citizens of the country.

Superannuated doctors from the AMC are also doing their bit in the pandemic. A case in point being the establishment of a 500-bed COVID-19 centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, by its Director and CEO Maj Gen (Dr) Vibha Dutta (Retd). Besides the COVID-19 facility, the officer and her team have organised vaccination drives, established oxygen plants and liquid oxygen storage facilities in double quick time and established over 200 diagnostic COVID-19 testing laboratories across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, and Daman and Diu.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor