Kohima: Resenting against the Cabinet’s decision on regularising 27 contractual medical officers on the ground of constraint of manpower to contain COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Mission Employees Association, Nagaland (NEAN), has decided to indefinitely cease work from Sunday till the three-point demands of the Association are fulfilled.

In a memorandum submitted to the commissioner & secretary of the health department, NEAN president Dr Shashinlo Magh and general secretary Kewetso Kenye expressed that the NEAN “is deeply amazed and disheartened on the recent government decision” whereby 27 GDMOS who were appointed on contractual basis on May 27 this year for a period of 12 months are regularised on the ground of constraint of manpower to contained COVID-19 pandemic.

It said that the association has made appeals to the authority on many occasions to address the grievances of NHM employees such as the regularization, pay parity with the State Health Employees, Basic Employees Benefit, and so on.

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“However, instead of addressing the issue of NHM employees who has been rendering their service with a meager remuneration on contractual basis the department has gone to the extent of randomly appointing and regularizing services over ruling all service rules and laid down rules for recruitment on the pretext of COVID-19 Pandemic,” it said.

While the regularised employees has hardly rendered their service to the department, it claimed that the NHM employees are well trained in various programmes including COVID-19 and has been rendering their valuable service in the delivery of Health Care in the state since the inception of the NHM.

“At this time of pandemic when all the NHM staff are engaged on COVID-19 duty and they are performing a commendable job to contain the pandemic, if any employee is to be regularized on the basis of COVID-19 it is the NHM employees who deserve the most to be regularized, to be acknowledge with better remuneration,” the memorandum read.

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Rather than giving a thought on the pleas of the NHM employees, it said that the government has “acted contrary by appointing and regularizing others which shows Government lack of concern for the NHM employees”.” It also depicts the government attitude of nepotism. favoritism and discrimination of NHM employees which can never be compromised,” it added.

Therefore, the Association demanded the state government to regularize the services of NHM employees, to ensure parity of pay (Equal Pay for Equal Work) with the State Health Employees of the same rank, and provide all basic employees benefit to NHM employees in line with the state health & Family Welfare Employees.

“With all the injustice and unfairness mended towards the NHM employees at the hour of pandemic”, the Association announced that it has decided to go for “indefinite cease work” from Sunday till the demands are fulfilled

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Following a cabinet decision on June 11, the state government announced that to strengthen the manpower of the Health & Family Welfare Department, the Cabinet has approved the creation of 53 posts of Specialist Doctors for 11 District Hospitals; creation of one post of Director (Medical Education & Radiation Safety) at the level of Special Selection Grade (Pay Level-18); creation of five posts of Zonal Leprosy Officer (Longleng, Kiphire, Peren, Phek & Zunheboto) at the level of Senior Grade (Pay Level-15); encadrement of two posts of District Vector Borne Officer (Tuensang & Zunheboto) into the cadre of the Nagaland Health Service, as and when the present incumbents vacates the same, to be manned by medical doctors and the creation of 143 posts of Staff Nurse to be deployed in all the District Hospitals,

The Cabinet also approved the age condonation of 28 (twenty eight) Staff Nurses under Health & Family Welfare Department and fresh appointment be made against the sanctioned post. It approved the regularization of 19 serving contract Medical Officers under the Health & Family Welfare Department and regularization of 27 existing Medical Officers who have been engaged by the Department for a period of one year.

The Cabinet had said that this approval is in one-time relaxation of laid down rules and procedures for recruitment, regularization and condonation of age. “Further, this one-time measure in view of prevailing situation in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic shall not be treated as a precedent” the spokesperson for COVID-19, Neiba Kronu had said.

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