Hundreds of ASHA workers from Chennai who were hired for COVID-19 duty staged a protest on Tuesday, September 28, seeking permanent employment.
Nearly 800 nurses gather outside the Director of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMS) campus. They raised slogans requesting the government to notice their plight.
However, they withdrew the demonstrations after the state Health Minister Ma Subramanian assured them he would hold talks with the representatives in the coming week, The Indian Express reported.
The government had appointed around 3,000 nurses who qualified for the Medical Services Recruitment Board (MRB) exams for COVID-19 work. They were hired on a contractual basis and continue to work, spreading awareness about the COVID vaccination, surveying localities, etc.
Dr GR Ravindranath, the general secretary of Doctors Association for Social Equality, told the media that the current government's order of moving the nurses from DMS's control to district collectors had created panic and fear of job security among the nurses.
They demand the government to revoke the order and employ them permanently.
'Worked Risking Our Lives'
Since the pandemic hit India, the ASHA workers have been tirelessly working, involved in the door-to-door surveys tracing symptomatic patients, contact tracing of patients.
Speaking to the media, the workers said they risked their lives and their families by getting out on the field every day to save lives, educated the family members, covered shortage of medicines, and so forth. Besides, they were also deployed to raise awareness regarding the COVID vaccination.
Despite all the work, the salary they are provided merely covers basic expenses. Many alleged they weren't paid on time.
Kamal Hassan In Support
According to the report, Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan has come out to support the nurses. He visited the campus and called out the government for ignoring the ordeal of thousands of workers.
Many people were living their lives because of the timely medical treatments and medicines they received with the help of ASHA workers. The pandemic is still ongoing, and these nurses would be required the most; hence, the authorities must come forward and extend their help, he added.