More than 38,000 doctors, including those retired from the Armed Forces Medical Services, have volunteered to help the government in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Friday.
On March 25, the government had made an appeal to doctors, including the retired ones, to come forward and join the efforts to fight the pandemic.
"38,162 volunteer doctors, including retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or private doctors have signed up with the government to battle COVID-19 pandemic," the official told PTI.
The official further said Niti Aayog has sent a list of names of these doctors to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
In a statement posted on Niti Aayog's website on March 25, the government had said those who wish to contribute to this noble mission may register themselves through a link provided on the Aayog's website.
"The Government of India requests for volunteer doctors who are fit and willing to be available for providing their services in the public health facilities and the training hospitals in the near future.
"We appeal to such doctors to come forward at this hour of need. You could also be a retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or a private doctor," the statement had said.
It had noted that in case the outbreak leads to a high number of infected individuals, India's public health facilities will face tremendous load to take care of a large number of patients.
Many countries, including the US, Italy, the UK and Vietnam, had also urged retired health workers to come back to work amid the pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 cases in India has climbed to 1,65,799, making it the world's ninth worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Health Ministry on Friday said the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 4,706 in the country.