We will fast-track resolution of their issues: Secretary Health
With the National Health Mission employees’ strike hitting the patient care in hospitals, the J&K government has urged the agitating personnel to resume work, promising that their demands would be looked into on fast-track basis.
After a meeting with representatives of NHM employees last week, State government has said it will expedite resolution of their demands.
“Whatever is doable, we will fast track it including their issues regarding social security, leave including maternity leave and others,” Secretary Health, Atul Dulloo, said.
He added that the “bigger issues” that had a financial implication would also be worked out. “We will sit with them and have a meeting with State governing body to chalk out a solution,” he said.
However, he said that healthcare had taken a hit especially in view of the recent snowfall. “We have urged the employees to resume emergency duties as some areas are badly affected by extreme weather we have had,” he said. Dulloo said NHM employees have assured the government that they will restore emergency services in interest of patient-care.
However, NHM employees association Kashmir division president Muneer Andrabi rubbished the assurance of Government and termed it “time buying” tactic. He said that successive governments had only shown lack of seriousness in addressing their demands. “There is no huge financial implication of conceding to our demands, it is just lack of intent,” he said.
He added that NHM employees, based on “humanitarian grounds” had resumed work in difficult and far-flung areas, where lack of doctors and paramedics was affecting healthcare delivery acutely. “However, we will not be marking our attendance anywhere we resume work and our services are just voluntary till Government resolves our demands,” Indrabi said.
Indrabi said the association of NHM employees has sought “in writing” a time-bound plan to address their demands.
In many parts of State, health centers had been closed down due to non-availability of staff. Due to closure of roads following inclement weather, reports of patients undergoing hardships due to unavailable healthcare services have been regular. In Bandipora, Shopian, Kuwpara and many parts of Jammu, healthcare has suffered a jolt due non-available NHM employees, who form the only healthcare staff pool in many areas.
NHM employees’ strike across J&K started on January 14 and a hunger strike was started on Friday. The demands include regularization, removal of pay anomaly and service benefits to employees working with the Mission.