NEW DELHI: Over 100 nursing staff, auxiliary nurses and midwives (ANMs) and data entry operators from the fixed COVID-19 vaccination centres located in schools across 11 revenue districts in the city on Tuesday sat on a dharna in front of Delhi Secretariat demanding the reinstatement of their jobs, which as per a recent government order will be discontinued with effect from March 31, even as the vaccination drive is going on for the 12-14 age-group.
“The Delhi government has decided to shut the vaccination centres located in schools and educational institutions. Hiring additional manpower (doctors, nurses, ANMs and CDEOs) for vaccination activity is not to be extended beyond March 2022. Due rationalisation of this additionally hired manpower is to be done at the session sites till March 31,” the order issued by the directorate of family welfare read.
Over 800 nurses were hired on a contract basis last year when the vaccination camps were newly set up in the districts where they were deputed to various vaccination centres across the city. Their tenure was extended as the different categories of the population were being vaccinated. While the doctors will go back to their respective hospitals, the nurses and Computer Data Entry Operators (CDEOs) will be left with no work as the order states that 90 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated.
The protesting staff said that now with the vaccination programme has become a success, owing to their hard work, they are being thrown out of their jobs that too at such short notice. This comes at a time when in the Delhi budget, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced the creation of 20 lakh jobs over the next five years.
Parul Malik, a nurse posted in the south Delhi district, 26-year-old Korea Gautam, a nurse from Delhi’s Inderlok. Kajal Sharma, a 22-year-old vaccinator in the southeast district and Data Entry Operator Owaid Ahmed, 21, were some stakeholders that this newspaper talked to at the protest.
Many of them said that even when some of them contracted Covid while on duty, their salaries were deducted for taking sick leaves. Even then, they said, they continued to work. The protesting nurses also met with Delhi Health Department’s Principal Secretary Manisha Saxena who spoke to them.