AYUSH doctors, pharmacists call ceasework from June 22

AYUSH staff members working under the National Health Mission (NHM), Manipur on contractual basis have collectively urged the state government to address their problems and grievances at the earliest.

As many as 227 AYUSH staff members working under the National Health Mission (NHM), Manipur on contractual basis have collectively urged the state government to address their problems and grievances at the earliest. They have submitted a memorandum to the chief minister.

However, till Tuesday there was no positive outcome. The AYUSH staff members stated that if the government failed to respond by June 21, they would be forced to hold a ceasework strike from June 22.

Addressing a press meet held at Uripok Ningthoukhongjam Leikai Samadon Sanglen, general secretary of All Manipur AYUSH Doctors' Association Dr Kenedy said that the AYUSH as well as allopathic (MBBS) doctors working under NHM, Manipur were appointed on the same contractual basis on the recommendation by DPC. AYUSH doctors were equally trained in various types of national health programmes along with the allopathic (MBBS) doctors, he said.

The general secretary further stated that they have been providing same type of services as that of MBBS doctors such as OPD service, 24x7 emergency service, antenatal care, postnatal care, institutional delivery, newborn care, family planning services, adolescent health care service, school health service, routine immunisation, intensified pulse polio immunisation, district mobile medical unit camps, outreach health camps, district health meals, medical coverage teams, go to village programme of Manipur state government, primary health sub centre visits, medical officer-in-charges and various national health programmes.

They also enjoyed the same salary of Rs. 15,000/- per month as that of allopathic (MBBS) doctors working under NHM, Manipur since the initiation of NHM in Manipur in 2005-06 till 2009-10. However, from the year 2010-11, there has been huge disparity in the salaries between the AYUSH doctors and the allopathic (MBBS) doctors. AYUSH doctors and the allopathic (MBBS) doctors were given Rs. 18,750/- and Rs. 30,000/- respectively even though both are rendering the same type of health services, said Dr Kenedy.

He pointed out that at present, AYUSH doctors under NHM are receiving Rs. 29,138/- while Allopathic (MBBS) doctors under the same mission are receiving Rs. 57,226/- per month. Various representations in this regard have been submitted to State Mission Directors and Health Ministers in the past without any positive outcome, he said.

In connection with the disparity in salary, the High Court of Manipur has also issued an order on April 9,  2019 and directed the State Health Mission Society, Manipur to ensure that they are treated at par with the allopathic (MBBS) doctors within a period of two months.

Dr Kenedy added that during the current COVID-19 pandemic in Manipur, the AYUSH doctors were rendering various types of emergency health services as front-line warriors with dedication. They are serving the same type of duties with that of the allopathic (MBBS) doctors to prevent and contain further spread of COVID-19 in the state. However, the huge disparity in salaries between the AYUSH doctors and the allopathic (MBBS) doctors has resulted in resentment among the AYUSH doctors.

Dr Kenedy appealed to the state government to acknowledge the similar nature of services rendered by the AYUSH doctors as well as the order issued by the High Court of Manipur and appeal for equal pay without any disparity.

First Published:June 16, 2020, 11:23 p.m.