Nida to go on indefinite work cessation protest
Dimapur, April 8 (EMN): The Nagaland In-service Doctors’ Association (Nida) on Thursday said that it has decided to escalate its symbolic agitation to severe forms including “mass casual leave” and “indefinite cessation of work” till the government fulfils its demand to increase the superannuation age for doctors in the state.
The move came a day after the state Cabinet reportedly deferred Nida’s demand in its meeting on Wednesday, citing the ongoing consultation with the Naga Student Federation on the matter. Nida has been protesting the government’s inaction since January 25 this year by wearing black armbands.
The association informed through a press release that it will stage second phase of agitation by taking “mass casual leave” from April 12 to the 14th before resorting to “indefinite cessation of routine works” starting on April 15 in view of the government’s failure to address the long-standing issue. It added that only emergency services will be available during the agitation.
Nida lauded and acknowledged the effort of the government to strengthen the healthcare system in the state by creating 120 posts of doctors in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, thus taking the total sanctioned post of doctors to 511. However, it said the number is still short by around 800 doctors as per Indian Public Health Standard for the existing health facilities.
It said doctor population ratio in Nagaland is 1:4056 (projected population 2020) against 1: 1000 recommended by WHO and national average of 1:1445 (Economic Survey 2019-20). It said the state should have 2073 doctors as per WHO recommendation but the number of doctors registered under Nagaland Medical Council is 1118, which indicates shortfall of doctors in the state by 955.
“Presently, about 35-40 MBBS seats are allotted to the state per year. In the given scenario, it will take about 23 to 27 years to achieve the WHO recommendation,” read the press release.
It went on to state that enhancement of the superannuation age of doctors will not affect employment avenues for the unemployed doctors in the state.
“In addition to the existing 114 post vacancies against sanctioned posts (60), NHM (29) & NSACS (25), 300 doctors will be required for the two upcoming medical colleges. In response to the last advertisement for recruitment to the newly created posts of doctors in 2020, only 168 candidates applied for 199 vacancies. This clearly indicates huge shortage of doctors in the State, as out of 1118 registered doctors under Nagaland Medical Council, 520 doctors including contractual are under the department and about 200 are retired doctors (>65 years of age), which means 398 doctors are in private sector,” it stated.
The association went on to state that “experienced seniors are required to see the fruition of the ongoing projects especially the upcoming Medical College at Kohima and Mon which is in a very crucial phase”. It added that many retired doctors from the state work in private hospitals while “government hospitals are deprived of utilising their expertise and experience due to early retirement”.
Nida said that it has been pursuing the issue of enhancement of superannuation of age of doctors in line with the Central government policy since 2016, to address the shortage of doctors and boost healthcare delivery system in the state but has fallen on deaf ears.
“Nagaland is the only state without a medical college in the country and if the government is willing to improve this image, it must make enabling policies. Without such policies, the fraternity should not be blamed in the future,” it stated.