The anger of disengagement from service that had turned cold over the past couple of months suddenly came alive when a group of nursing staff staged protest during the visit of Odisha Chief Secretary and 5T Secretary to Bolangir district on Wednesday.
The incident took place during Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra and 5T Secretary VK Pandian’s visit to Santha Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital (MCH) in Balangir to review the functioning of the institute. Water Resources Department secretary Anu Garg and National Heath Mission (MHM) Director Shalini Pandit were also part of the touring team.
The healthcare professionals staged an impromptu protest and shouted slogans against the Chief Secretary and 5T Secretary. They demanded their immediate reinstatement.
“We had been engaged on Covid-19 duty, but the government laid us off us after nine months when the cases declined. The Odisha Sub-ordinate Staff Selection Commission (OSSSC) had issued an advertisement for the recruitment of nursing students. We had demanded weightage or preference, but the government did not consider our demands,” alleged a protester.
It is pertinent to mention that the State Government had engaged around 21,000 ANMs, staff nurses and pharmacists on temporary basis to augment the health workforce for smooth functioning of Covid Care Homes (CCH) when SARS-nCoV infections were exploding in Odisha. They were appointed on a daily wage basis for three months or till the CCHs were functional.
After they were disengaged from services following improvement in Covid-19 situation, the ANM workers had launched a massive protest at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar. The healthcare professionals resorted to begging on the streets wearing PPE Kits to register their protest against the alleged callousness of the government.
In February this year, State Health Minister Naba Kishore Das had informed the Assembly that the ANM workers will be given fresh appointments on the basis of their qualification.