The Tamil Nadu Government Village Health Nurses (VHN) Association has urged the health department to fill vacant posts at 1,200 health sub-centres in the State and withdraw the government order ‘degrading’ senior VHNs.

There are nearly 15,000 women working as VHNs, sector health nurses and community health nurses at health sub-centres, primary health centres (PHCs) and blocks.

VHNs have been involved in the care of ante-natal mothers, and conduct deliveries, immunisation and a number of public health activities, according to P. Nirmala, president of the Association.

“We are poorly paid and have no career progression opportunities but our share of work in the delivery of healthcare is huge,” she said.

The Association also asked the department to scrap government order no. 99 which they claimed degraded the job status of senior nurses.

“Under the National Rural Health Mission, nurses are appointed on contract basis at PHCs. After five years, these nurses are confirmed and posted as training coordinators to evaluate and supervise us, and this is degrading to senior VHNs,” she said.

The Association also demanded the re-opening of six ante-natal centres located at government hospitals across the State, including in Dindigul, Salem and Villupuram. These centres were closed seven years ago.

Though all PHCs have been provided with computers and Internet connection, the department is yet to appoint data entry operators for nearly five years, she said, adding they were forced to spend money on sending online reports on maternal and child care from browsing centres.

The Association demands promotion opportunities, withdrawal of orders to depute ante-natal centres to health sub-centres and increase in salary, from Rs. 100, for ayahs at health sub-centres.

from Rs. 100.

To put forward their 28-point charter of demands, the Association will stage a fast in the city on Thursday.

More In: Chennai | News