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Services of 629 striking NHM workers terminated in Gurugram

February 16, 2019 05:57 AM


Correspondent htreporters@hindustantimes.com ■
Public health centres (PHCs) in various areas are locked with no worker to attend to mothers and children. Services of NHM workers in other districts of the state have been terminated as well. KULBHUSHAN JADHAV, district secretary, NHM workers’ union

GURUGRAM: Services of around 629 National Health Mission (NHM) workers, who have been striking since February 5 at the Civil Hospital in Civil Lines, demanding job security and salary hike, were terminated on Friday by the district health department. Among those terminated, there are accredited social health activists (Ashas), ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians.

■ None of the 18 ambulances in Gurugram district are operational since February 5.
Officials of the health department said a warning was given to the striking workers on Thursday, asking them to either go back to work or face termination. “A letter was issued from the NHM director, pointing out the clause in the contract of NHM workers that stated that an absence of more than seven days from work is deemed to be liable for termination of their contract,” said Dr BK Rajora, civil surgeon, Gurugram. However, no plans are currently in place to hire new workers to fill in their posts, he said, adding that a decision will be taken for recruitment after consulting the NHM director.

Medical services in the district have been hit since the strike began, said health workers at the government hospital. None of the district’s 18 ambulances have been functional since February 5. According to Rajora, temporary drivers have been outsourced for the time being.

However, most of the ambulances were stationed at the hospital on Friday, and patients were forced to take auto-rickshaws or hire private ambulances. Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Dundahera, said he had to take a private ambulance from his village, which is about 14 km from the hospital. “It cost me ₹500 to reach here with my son who has suffered an eye injury,” he said.

A family member of Manvir, a patient from Ghamroj in the district, said none of the staff members were available to attend to patients on Friday afternoon. “Even before examining the patient, one doctor came and told us to go to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi,” he said.

Meanwhile, the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) in the hospital had only one staff member, as the other workers, who were contractual NHM employees, and were striking, said officials, adding that only three patients were admitted to the nine-bed ward as a result.

Immunisation in the district has taken a hit as well, as 18 public health centres (PHCs) in the district have been shut since the strike began. “PHCs in Patel Nagar, Sohna, Wazirabad and other areas are locked with no worker to attend to mothers and children,” said Kulbhushan Jadhav, district secretary of the NHM workers’ union. He added the workers will continue protesting at the Civil Hospital till their demands are met. Services of NHM workers in other districts of the state have been terminated as well, said Jadhav.

The state government, in December 2017, had approved the implementation of the recommendations of the seventh pay commission to all contractual staff.

However, according to workers, they are yet to receive the hike of 14.29%, as promised by the state health minister Anil Vij in December 2017. NHM workers are also demanding benefits such as maternity leave and gratuity after retirement.

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