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Contractual nurses’ stir hits health services

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Bhubaneswar: Health services in several government-run hospitals were thrown out of gear as more than 2,000 contractual staff nurses, appointed under the National Health Mission (NHM), went on with their cease work agitation for the fourth day in a row.

Demanding regularisation of their service and hike in salary, thousands of contractual nurses staged demonstration before district hospitals while their state-level body has been staging agitation in the state capital.

Healthcare services were hit in Cuttack’s SCB Hospital as hundreds of nurses staged dharna before the office of the hospital superintendant. Similarly, nurses also went on cease work stir at Burla based VSS Medical College and Hospital and MKCG Hospital in Berhampur.

“The nature of our work is no less than the regular nurses. We have been working with utmost sincerity since last six years. Most of us are specially trained to deal with Sick Newborn Care Units and Intensive Care Units (ICU). However, our service has not been regularised despite repeated pleas to the government,” said Kamalini Sahoo, a nurse who is part of the agitation.

Different emergency wards for Thalassemia and cancer patients have been closed due to staff shortage at the Capital Hospital here. Similar situation prevailed at other hospitals in the districts including the government hospital in Rourkela.

Members of Odisha Nursing Employees Association staged demonstration near lower PMG square.

Health Minister Pratap Jena met the agitators and assured them to look into their demands. “The government will regularise the services of nurses but the process requires some time as the health department needs permission from general administration and finance department,” Jena said.

General secretary of the association, Pravat Mohanty said, “If the government doesn’t agree with our demands, the rest of the regular nurses will also join the strike from Thursday.”

Presently, NHM nurses get remuneration of Rs 10,700 a month while regular government staff nurses get between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 including dearness, house rent and uniform allowances.

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