On Wednesday, several junior doctors from Hyderabad closed down the outpatient clinics in Osmania and Gandhi hospitals in the city. An effigy was also burned outside the Osmania hospital by 200-odd protesting doctors who were on strike protesting against those practising modern medicine in the city without the credentials to do so.
A video of the protests shows the junior doctors from Osmania walking with the effigy of a 'quack' doctor shouting “We want justice,” as they walk around the hospital campus. Several junior doctors from Gandhi, KMC, RIMS, and GGMC (Nizamabad) hospitals also joined the protests.
This comes after Health Minister Etela Rajender addressed a meeting of Rural Medical Practitioners (RMP) and Private Medical Practitioners (PMP) Welfare Association on Tuesday in Sircilla. An RMP or a rural medical practitioner is an unqualified healthcare practitioner who provides basic medical care in rural areas. A PMP or a private medical practitioner is one who can provide basic medical care and support, but does not have a medical degree, like nurse-midwives.
Seeing the health minister address those practising modern medicine without the credentials to do so irked the doctors who took to protests.
“We deem quacks to be anyone who is not authorized to practice medicine or give medications but does so. Whether this is someone from an MSc background or an ayurvedic one, it doesn’t matter, only certain people are legally qualified to practice modern medicine, and this protest is against those who do take up clinical medicine without having the proper qualifications for that,” said Dr PS Vijeyender, chairman of The Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) .
In addition to these protests, the junior doctors were also agitating against stipends left unpaid for the past few months. According to sources, the postgraduate students and interns have not been paid for the past 5 months, while those studying in super speciality courses have not been paid for the past 7 months.
In a statement, the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) stated that junior doctors and medical students from Osmania met both the principal of the medical college, Dr Shashikala, as well as the Director of Medical Education, Dr Ramesh Reddy to speak to them about the non-issuance of stipends.
Following this, though most of the postgraduate students were paid their stipends, some are yet to receive them. TJUDA representatives also stated that there was nothing mentioned by the DME when asked about the Health Minister’s presence at the RMP and PMP Welfare Association.
As of Thursday morning, while outpatient services have resumed at Osmania Hospital, the junior doctors and medical students have stated that their protests will continue.