The decision was made by the KGMOA ( Kerala Government Medical Officers Association).

 Govt doctors in Kerala on indefinite strike accuse govt of going back on its promises
Health Health Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 20:01

When we are suffering from a disease, it is of least significance to us, to think of doctors as more than doctors. What matters to us is that we recover with the help of the doctors. What if doctors too have their grievances? Who will they turn to then? What can they do to be heard? Are their means justified?

Government doctors in Kerala launched an indefinite strike across Kerala from April 13 onwards. The decision was made by the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA). The strike was triggered by the suspension of a doctor at the Kumaramputhoor Family Health Centre (FHC) in Palakkad. Though it might come across as a trivial reason to launch an indefinite strike, this strike was the culmination of a build-up of events over the past one year.

Dr Jitesh, KGMOA, General Secretary says, “Since last one year we have been in discussion with the government about our grievances. The first representation was given to the government on 7/2/2017. This was followed by a series of discussions. We had approached the DHO, the Health Secretary and the Health Minister. Nothing was working out for us. We had been planning to hold a strike from May 1 and had decided to hold on a state committee on April 17th to decide the modalities of the strike. However, with the sudden turn of events that has happened in Kumaramputhoor, we had to launch the strike.”

According to Dr Jitesh, the strike that was supposed to happen from May onwards, was in response to the government not increasing the number of staff at Family Health Centres. One year ago the state government had launched mission Aardram with an aim to upgrade Primary Health Centres to Family Health Centres. This was warmly welcomed by healthcare professionals as the mission would focus on the promotion of health, prevention of diseases and rehabilitation works.

Dr Jitesh says, “The government deviated from the main documents of the Aardram and started implementing things which were against the spirit of the documents. For instance, the field work to control the communicable diseases were to be improved. However, the government cut short the field days and extended the number of hours in the Out Patient Department. We do not have adequate doctors at the Family Health Centre to work for extended hours.”

Since the strike started, OP hours and the private practice have been suspended. No new admissions are accepted. Emergency operations, however, are carried out. The casualty is functioning and will treat the in-patients only till April 18.

According to Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi’s report, the government in a circular issued by Health and Family welfare department declared that the strike will be considered as illegal.The circular also noted that salary of the days in which the doctors hold strike will be deducted. Those who took part in the strike will be treated as under break in service.

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