Doctors’ forum in Bengal plans COVID-19 memorial

Future generations should not be allowed to forget this period and the sacrifice, say members

The West Bengal Doctors’ Forum — a vocal organisation of medical practitioners — has decided to set up a COVID-19 museum as a tribute to their colleagues who died during the pandemic and as a reminder for the future generations.

“This kind of a pandemic has come after more than 100 years — even our grandparents have not seen something like this. We have been fighting the virus from Day 1 and we have already lost around 90 doctors to it. The future generations should not be allowed to forget this period and the sacrifice,” said Dr. Rajiv Pandey of the forum.

“The museum will tell the story of this period. It will display PPE and other equipment, will show a map and a timeline explaining how the virus spread, and will also have a gallery with pictures of COVID-19 martyrs. That is our basic idea,” said Dr. Pandey.

The forum will approach the State government for land — somewhere in or around Kolkata — and will construct the museum with the help of crowd-funding. The body was formed in 2017 to fight a law that barred private practitioners from carrying out basic medical procedures in their clinics, but it went on to play a key role during the pandemic by creating awareness and shaping government strategy.

“There will come a time when the pandemic is over and, like other things, it will be forgotten; the deaths will be forgotten — that’s something we don’t want to happen. Doctors have fought and perished, not just in Bengal but all over the country and the world, even nurses and ambulance drivers have died. It is the duty of society and of the medical fraternity in particular to let the future generations remember the fallen soldiers and this period,” said Dr. Arjun Dasgupta, a founding member of the forum.

“This memorial is a must, to tell those generations how it all started, what the stakeholders did right and what the stakeholders did wrong, how we ignored health for decades and then paid a heavy price and how doctors fought and perished,” Dr. Dasgupta said.

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