Nagaland doctors

Kohima: Doctors in Nagaland began the 3-day mass casual leave on Monday to protest against the state government’s inaction concerning the superannuation age of the medical doctors.

The protest was called by the Nagaland In-Service Doctors Association (NIDA) after the completion of the one-year written assurance by the Chief Secretary that the matter regarding the superannuation of the medical doctors would be resolved within a period not exceeding one year. NIDA demands to raise the retirement age to 62 years.

Doctors at the Naga Hospital Authority, Kohima (NHAK), the lone district hospital in Kohima, told EastMojo that despite the mass casual leave, all doctors are in station to ensure that patients requiring emergency medical care are attended, and only routine Outpatient department (OPD) has been stopped.

However, all serious and emergency patients, immunisation services, COVID-19 testing services, patients admitted to the wards, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) continue to be treated by the concerned department doctors.

“We have been waiting patiently, and now we are forced to take action against our will. Denial of service to the patients is the last resort for us doctors,” one of the doctors said on the condition of anonymity.

The protest is being carried out despite the state government’s warning that a penal action against erring employees will be initiated. “We are in a democratic country, and we are protesting democratically,” another doctor said.

About 27 patients were attended at the hospital’s emergency centre till the time of filing this report, with 8 admitted to the ICU and around 20 in the wards.

As police personnel were deployed at the hospital to monitor the situation in case of any untoward situation, the doctors said that the deployment of armed personnel came as a surprise.

An officer from the district administration said that no law and order situation has been reported from Kohima district.

In case the government fails to respond to the demands of the doctors, they have threatened to cease work indefinitely after the expiry of the three day mass casual leave.

A mother who visited the hospital for her daughter’s medical review on Monday, said “We are going back. My daughter was called for a medical review after three months so we came her today. We did not know that the doctors will be on strike. We’ve been asked to come back on Friday.”

The Angami Students’ Union (ASU) also deployed volunteers at the government hospitals to monitor situations.

Co-convener of the ASU’s Core Committee, Khrielievi Chusi, said that student volunteers are deployed to monitor and see that patients are not at the receiving end.

He said that the student body will compile a data of how many patients were denied medical services on Monday and a comprehensive report will be presented to pressure the government. 

Also Read: Explained: Why are Nagaland doctors threatening to cease work?


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