Even as nursing services in State-run health centres continued to be hit following an indefinite strike by contract nurses, at least nine of the protestors were admitted in hospital on Wednesday after they developed hypoglycaemia.

Even as nursing services in State-run health centres continued to be hit following an indefinite strike by contract nurses appointed under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), at least nine of the protestors were admitted in hospital on Wednesday after they developed hypoglycaemia.

They were admitted to the State-run KC General Hospital. While eight were discharged after treatment, one of them, who allegedly consumed sleeping pills, is critical and is in the Intensive Care Unit. The matter has been brought to the notice of the police.

The agitating nurses are demanding regularisation of services, higher salaries and better incentives.

Although Health Minister U.T. Khader, on February 14, assured them of convene a meeting on February 19 to discuss their demands, the meeting did not materialise.

The nurses met Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) N. Sivasailam and other top officials of the Health Department on Tuesday.

“However, as there is no official assurance from them, we have decided to continue our strike. Some of us are on hunger strike and have developed hypoglycaemia. We will not withdraw our strike until our demands are met,” said Nagaraj H.C., an office-bearer of Karnataka State Contract Nurses Association.

These nurses, who are paid a salary of Rs. 8,000, were taken on contract in 2000.

“We want the government to pay us on par with the permanent nurses whose basic salary is Rs. 17,500,” said Annapurna, a nurse from Gadag.

Mr. Khader said that as the nurses were appointed under NRHM, it was for the Union government to take a decision on regularisation of their services.

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