The staff of the District and Block Project Management Units (DPMU and BPMU), which are functioning under the aegis of the National Health Mission implemented by the State Government, have come to the streets in Rayagada district due to injustice meted out to them as far as their service conditions are concerned. None of these employees of the Health & Family Welfare Department are permanent even if some of them are working since the year 2004.
These employees are involved in smooth implementation of various national and State health programmes like routine immunisation, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, Gaon Kalyan Samiti, Rogi Kalyan Samiti, Nidan, Niramaya, hospital cleanliness-related services and services related to various communicable and non-communicable diseases, which are now hampered due to the strike.
Under the banner of the Odisha State Mission Parichalana Karmachari Sangha (OSMPKS), thousands of ad-hoc employees, who basically look after the programme management part of all the health interventions, have called for a Statewide indefinite strike from September 10 and put forth six demands before the Government. As a result, the basic health services relating maternal and child health and the services related to general health system have been affected seriously.
The demands include formation of a separate cadre for these professionals as per the National Health Policy and regularisation of their jobs. Till regularisation of their jobs, salary payment as per the recommendations of 7th Pay Commission, rationalisation of the salaries of all employees, provisioning of EPF, group/individual health insurance, provision of house rent, elimination of performance-based incentive and experience allowances are the other demands of the union.
A high-level committee was formed under the chairpersonship of the Health & Family Welfare Secretary to consider the demands. Though a meeting was held on May 24, no concrete steps have been taken so far to fulfil the demands. The strike of OSMPKS has been supported by other employees’ unions like the doctors’ union, AYUSH union and ASHA Karmi union, whose members are also working under the National Health Mission.
“Recently the BJP Rayagada district unit submitted a memorandum regarding the severe scarcity of human resources like doctors, nurses, attendants, sweepers and other technicians in the district and sub-divisional headquarters hospitals, CHCs and PHCs. Provisions for CT scan, endoscopy, ENT, central pipeline for oxygen supply, proper functioning of dialysis system, etc., were demanded. When this deficit has led to almost a catastrophe in the district, absence of the ad-hoc PMU staffs supporting in the MIS, monitoring and supplementing the implementation of various health programmes in the district has put the system in jeopardy,” said BJP national tribal wing vice-president Kaliram Majhi.