Bhubaneswar: The launching of vaccination programme for measles and rubella is likely to be marred tomorrow as contractual staff nurses appointed under the National Health Mission (NHM) have warned the government of cease work agitation for indefinite period demanding regularisation of job.
Hundreds of nurses who staged dharna at PMG square in Bhubaneswar demanding regularisation of jobs and hike in grade pay, today said they will halt the vaccination programme if government does not pay heed to their demands.
“The NHM officials, Collectors and CDMOs are threatening us to terminate from the job whenever we raise our demands. We are ready to accept the termination. Around 1700 staff will not cooperate with the vaccination programme at all sub-centres across the State tomorrow," a nurse said.
She alleged that the government has recruited the nurses as per Odisha Reservation of Vacancies (ORV) Act. "We joined duty after being trained properly and have been providing service uninterruptedly since 2005.But, why are we deprived of same salary for same work?” she added.
Odisha emerged on top in the vaccination programme in the country due to hard labour of the nurses. The State has also been awarded for minimising the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). These have been achieved only due to the service of the nurses. But, the government has turned a blind eye to the legitimate demands of the nurses, she alleged.
"We have discussed with government several times and only received assurance. Every discussion has proved futile. This time, we will never withdraw the stir until our demands are met", she maintained.
The vaccination programme and other health care activities will never be affected once the government resolve the issues, another nurse said.
"We have always been cooperating with the government in all healthcare programmes. We don't want to pose hurdles in public service. But, government should address our issues also," she added.