COVID-19: Frontline health warriors left in lurch without payments

Chaitraly Deshmukh
Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Thousands of doctors and staff from the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) left in lurch  without payments

Pune: Thousands of doctors and staff from the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) the National Child Health Program, which provides regular health check-ups and free treatment to Anganwadi children and school children in Maharashtra, have been a great help to the state government during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now, these frontline workers have demanded that the government should bridge the gap between MBBS doctors and those who do not get the same salary as them.

The central government has set up a program called 'RBSK' to provide free health care to children between the ages of zero and 18 in Anganwadi and schools in the state twice a year. RBSK has 1195 squads operating in all the districts of the state since 2013. One team consists of AYUSH male and female medical officers, a nurse and a pharmacist.

Working and surveying in the containment zones, COVID Care Centre, rural and district hospitals, airport check booths, railway stations and bus stands, these doctors have served the people round the clock.

Dr Dinesh Gharge, RBSK Doctor, Pune talking to Sakal Times, said "Today we are available to help the government in difficult situations. Like work, however, the pay gap is frustrating for highly educated doctors like us. The government should eliminate the difference in remuneration as soon as possible. So that our morale will increase. Many of them are fed up with the government's two-pronged policy and are ready to resign masses.”

Past few days, some AYUSH doctors' posts have been filled on a temporary basis in Pune, Mumbai and Thane for corona duty. Doctors have been paid a monthly salary of 40 to 65 thousand depending on the municipality. However, doctors in RBSK were paid Rs 25,000 in urban areas and Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 in rural areas.

STRENGTH OF RBSK

  • Number of squads:  1195
  • Female and male doctors:  2200
  • Nurses: 1100
  • Pharmacist: 1100

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