Doctors hail their contribution; Dir Health says will recommend their case to Govt
By: Ahmad Shabir
SRINAGAR: To boost the morale of doctors and para-medics on forefront in fight against the Covid 19, government recently announced special incentives in their favor. While doctors hailed the decision but many of them demanded the extension of incentives to the low paid health workers working on hospital development fund (HDF).
“I believe that the incentives be diverted to HDF workers. They really deserve,” wrote a medic, Dr Ayoub on facebook.
His Facebook post received lot of appreciation from other doctors and healthcare workers.
“I salute your spirit. These HDF workers really deserve to be rewarded for the job they have been doing since the outbreak of pandemic,” another medic commented to his post.
Over 2000 HDF health workers have been working in different hospitals in J&K for last thirteen to fifteen years against the meagre wages of Rs 2000 to 3000 per month. Many of these HDF workers are technical hands serving the department for peanuts with the hope that people at helm sooner or later regularise their services or at least hike their wages.
Since the outbreak of Covid pandemic, the HDF workers appointed either by the top health department officers on their own or on the recommendations of former MLAs and ministers ruling and opposition parties have been on the forefront in fight against Covid along with doctors and their permanent colleagues (para-medics).
Dr Owais Dar, who is Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) general secretary, n his facebook wall wrote in detail about the plight of these poor workers under the title ‘HDF workers: Who are they’.
“They are working in different Hospitals of J&K just like casual labourers but a lot of them are highly and technically qualified. They all are doing wonderful Job in Hospitals from last many decades on meagre stipends,” Dr Owais wrote.
DAK general secretary hailed the efforts of these poor workers in fighting the deadly Covid 19 for last over a year.
He urged the government to encourage these hardworking but poor health workers for their contribution towards healthcare system.
“It is high time that Government needs to understand and encourage their contribution towards health care system of J&K which has already less manpower and absorb them and regularise their services in time bound manner. Moreover, Covid incentives also need to be extended to them at once,” Dr Owais wrote.
Nearly one hundred HDF workers from last one year, according to general secretary of the JK HDF workers association, Bashir Ahmad, were infected with Covid virus while performing duties.
He, however, expressed surprise over the discriminatory attitude of the authorities towards them.
“We are made to perform Covid duties as per roaster in all hospitals. In Sopore some HDF workers were calling me and saying they have been deputed for Covid duty for continuous six days a week without any break. We don’t oppose the incentives to doctors and other para-medics fighting the pandemic but we are surely disheartened that HDF workers who are working shoulder to shoulder with them were left out. It has downed our morale,” Bashir said.
President of the HDF workers association, Anantnag , Shakir Ahmad who is a physiotherapist working at government medical college for nearly 15 years, said HDF workers are made to work in Covid isolation wards in all the hospitals but when it has come to incentives for health workers, they were treated badly.
“We too have families. And we are risking ourselves to feed them. But now it seems that we are children of lesser God for authorities,” Shakir told Precious Kashmir.
When contacted, Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather admitted that HDF workers are on forefront in fighting the pandemic like other health workers.
“They are a part of us. I will write to the government and strongly recommend incentives in their favor,” Director said.