In Rajasthan, many newborns have not been vaccinated for eight days now

Health services are hit since 12,000 health workers are on strike to demand better salaries and timely promotion

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Thursday 04 October 2018
Health workers' strike
When the state government did not pay any heed to the health workers' demands even after a week, they went on strike. Credit: Getty Images When the state government did not pay any heed to the health workers' demands even after a week, they went on strike. Credit: Getty Images

In Rajasthan, neither pregnant women going for childbirth, nor their newborns have received any vaccination for the last eight days. This is because around 12,000 health workers, including auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) and lady health visitors (LHV), have been on strike since September 27 to demand better salary, more staff and timely promotion, among other demands.

The strike, which has affected the functioning of 14,000 health centres, resulted in cancellation of vaccination camps on September 27, October 1 and October 4 in the state. The health workers had stopped attending all meetings with government officials from September 20 giving the state a week’s time to meet their 11 demands. But when that didn’t happen, they decided to go on strike.

One of their demands is salary revision. The health workers say the previous regime had raised their salary from Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,870, but the Vasundhra Raje government reversed this order once they came to power. The protestors want the reversed orderf reversed.

Another demand is related to promotions. While the state policy says that they should be promoted every 15 years, the government doesn’t do it before 30 years. One other demand, among the 11 posed by the health workers, is recruitment of more staff to reduce the immense work burden the workers are under.

Sajida Bano, state president of Rajasthan State LHV/ANM Association, told Down To Earth, “The government is not lending an ear to our concerns. We had organized a one-day dharna in front of the Assembly in February. On September 4, again, we had worked wearing black strips to tell the government about our plight, but they are not taking us seriously.”

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyaan (JSA), the Indian regional circle of the global People’s Health Movement, also criticised the government for not finding a solution even when lakhs of people are suffering owing to the strike. 

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