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NHM employees agitation disrupt health services amidst COVID-19 pandemic in Nagaland

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Kohima, June 14: The striking cease work agitation imposed by National Health Mission Employees Association (NEAN) from today has impacted the deliverance of health services in the State during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
NEAN president Dr Shasinlo Magh said the NHM employees decided to go on a statewide indefinite cease work from today till its three-point demands are fulfilled.
He said the demands include regularization of NHM employees, pay parity with state health employees of the same rank and all basic employees benefit in line with state Health and Family Welfare employees.
“We did not want to take such a drastic step at this crucial period of COVID-19 pandemic but the decision was taken considering the latest development of the State Cabinet on June 11 last deciding to regularize services of contract health workers appointed by the health department.
Dr Magh said the NHM employees had been providing services since the inception of NHM in the State in 2005-06.
He lamented the Government’s indifferent attitude towards the NHM employees saying that they have placed their request several times before the government but there has not been any consideration till date while it has gone to the extent of randomly appointing and regularizing services overruling all service rules and laid down rules for recruitment on the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic within a span of two weeks.
“We are very dissatisfied and not happy with the attitude of the government towards the NHM employees as it shows their nepotism and favouritism and total discrimination against us,” he said.
NHM employees are working with meagre remuneration, which is not even one-third of the state health services employees in the same rank, while we are performing the same duty he said.
“We were hopeful that the state government would understand and value our services and would consider our plight and provide a security of job, but over the years the scenario is totally different, and therefore we have no option but to resort to agitation,” said Dr Magh.
“We will go ahead with the agitation till our three point demands are fulfilled,” he affirmed.
“We are equally concerned about the health aspects of the general public, including the returnees, COVID patients and also other sick and needy people during this COVID time and we regret our cease work,” he said.
The 1850 NHM employees comprises ambulance drivers, lab technicians, nurses, Dental, AYUSH and Allopathic doctors, while all of us are abstaining from work as part of the agitation till the demands are fulfilled.
Asked about the state government’s response, he said they were called on Sunday for discussion but we will definitely meet the authority and hold discussions only if they (government) come out with a proper plan in fulfillment of our demand.
Meanwhile, on being contacted a top official of the department said that the officials of NEAN have been called to hold discussions across the table and the matter would be resolved.
Asked on how the department was managing the present COVID-19 situation in their absence, the official said it is difficult to manage during this time of difficulty but some contingency arrangements are being made by the respective district task force, wherever the NHM employees are engaged. (Page News Service)