IMPHAL: Drawing the attention of the government towards the problems faces by Ayush doctors working National Health Mission (NHM), the All Manipur Ayush Doctors Association (AMADA) has warned of a strong agitations if the state government fails to intervene.
Addressing press at Thokchom Leikai, Kwakeithel on Sunday, Dr. Kh. Gopeshwor, Publicity Secretary, AMADA said that Ayush staffs were not included in the pay rationalization of staffs under NHM, Manipur.
Ayush doctors have been working on contract basis for 14 years under NHM, Manipur and all the Ayush staff were suffering since 2006, Gopeshwor said. It is said that all together four Ayush staff (Ayush doctors and Ayush Pharmacist) working under NHM, Manipur have passed away during service period. Altogether, 277 Ayush staff (176 doctors and 101 Pharmacists) are working on contractual basis under NHM, Manipur. Amongst this staff, 75 doctors have completed 12 years of service under the NHM and in the year 2015, Ayush Directorate was established and only 30 doctors are working under it, Gospeshwor said.
He said that the Ayush directorate needs to be strengthened by creating/recruiting more numbers of regular Ayush doctors and pharmacists.
Gopeshwor further stated that recruitment through MPSC for some Ayush doctors has been done but done in a Piecemeal manner unlike MBBS doctors whose recruitment goes for 300-400 doctors at a time. It is said that like the regularization of staff working under Central Sponsored Schemes (CSS) of other departments, Ayush doctors and pharmacists working under NHM (CSS Scheme) could have been considered for regularization by the state government.
He also further said that monthly payment for Ayush staff has been marginalized and Ayush staffs were not given the regular annual increment of salary approved by the Central Government. It may be mentioned that regarding the issue opposition party Spokesperson cum MLA Thangmeiband Khumukcham Joykishan has raised during the Assembly session but there is no any sign of action and measures been taken from the side of government as of now.
He further stated that there is also a great disparity in salaries between Ayush doctors and MBBS doctors working under NHM, Manipur even though doctors from both these streams possess equivalent degrees and are treated equally under Manipur Health Services Rules. (MHSR). He warned that if the Manipur government fails to take up and discuss the matter at the earliest, then the association will launch strong agitations in the coming days.
Spokesperson of the association, Dr. H. Robindro said that all Ayush doctors under NHM are performing equal responsibilities and duties like those taken by MBBS doctors such as Medical Office-In-Charge of Primary Health Centres, District Nodal Officer etc. They are all working as frontline health workers during this pandemic situation and national health programme etc. Even at this critical situation Covid-19, all Ayush doctors are equally deployed as medical officer in screening centres, institutional quarantine centres, community quarantine centres, sample collection teams, state/district Covid-19 control room, surveillance teams, quick reaction team, rapid response teams, interpersonal communication teams and district coordination teams etc.
He also mentioned the unfortunate incidents of one Ayush staff (Pharmacist) recently who was performing duty in the main screening centre in Bishnupur district and passed away due to heart attack. He appealed to the government of Manipur led by N. Biren Singh to look into it and take up measures of assistance from their side to the deceased family’s’. We also appreciate the government decision regarding the recruitment of 300 regular doctors as per cabinet decision on May 5, 2020. We are not against the state government or any health departments but have appealed to recognize the duties performed by the Ayush doctors/staff in this pandemic situation. He also further appealed to the government to regularize them by considering the constructive health services provided by them in the promotion of public health in general and the front line activities rendered in the prevention and containment of Covid-19 pandemic in Manipur in particular.
During the press conference, the members of the association extended financial assistance to the bereaved family and two minutes silent as tribute to late R.K Promodini Devi, Ayush Pharmacist.