All outpatient departments in government-run hospitals in Manipur face indefinite shutdown with effect from January 9 following the government's failure to meet the demands of the All Manipur Health Services Doctors’ Association (AMHSDA).
Condemning the government's inaction, AMHSDA general secretary Lolee P Mao said the association had decided on two-day OPD shutdown followed by an indefinite shutdown with effect from January 9.
What are the demands of AMHSDA?
Initially, the AMHSDA had put forward an eight charter of demands to the government on August 20, 2022.
The demands, however, were reduced to four following the authorities’ request during a meeting chaired by the Health and Family Welfare director and additional chief secretary along with AMHSDA executives and Working Committee on November 14, the association said in a statement.
According to the AMHSDA, the ministerial-level meeting on November 18, 2022 decided on the following final four demands:
1. Time bound/scale promotion;
2. Extension of superannuation age of specialist and non-specialist doctors to 65 years as administrative post as per the declaration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi;
3. Inclusion of NPA in the basic pay with effect from January 1 of 2016 as per the 7th Central Pay Commission;
4. Major Amendment of the outdated MHS Rules 1982.
The initial charter of demands included demands for the creation of a director general and two more directors namely Public Health and Medical Education; any MHS doctor eligible to the highest post i.e. director by virtue of seniority; abide strictly by the transfer and posting policy 2017; and provision of risk and difficult areas posting allowances, it mentioned.
The AMHSDA agitation and call for OPD shutdown
Despite the repeated reminders of the demands, even after the lapse of two years, the government failed to meet the demands, the AMHSDA stated.
The AMHSDA started its agitation by putting on black badges from November 1 followed by sit-in protests and relay hunger strike across the 16 districts of the state.
Over 750 doctors took one-day mass casual leave across the state on December 17.
OPD services across the state were closed on December 20.
The AMHSDA suspended its strike during the Sangai Festival 2022.
“In good faith, AMHSDA temporarily suspended its ongoing strike during the Sangai Festival as the government had agreed to put the four demands forward in the December 2022 cabinet meeting.
"The AMHSDA also suspended the two-day OPD shutdown followed by indefinite closure from December 12 onwards, but the agreed-upon demands were not put forward in the cabinet meeting on January 2,” it stated.