Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu village health nurses seek 8-hour duty, submit demands

United struggle: Village health nurses staging a demonstration in Chennai on Tuesday. B. Jothi Ramalingam   | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

Village Health Nurses (VHN) made a mass representation to the Health Department on Tuesday seeking eight-hour duty per day and planning COVID-19 vaccination in a way that it does not affect their routine maternal and child healthcare services.

Submitting a 42-point charter of demands, members of the Tamil Nadu Government Village Health Nurses’ Association said there were more than 10,000 VHNs, 1,400 sector health nurses and 384 community health nurses working in primary health centres functioning under the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the State.

The VHNs were involved in maternal and child healthcare, immunisation, maternity assistance scheme and family welfare services. Along with their regular work, they had to maintain registers and online registration on Pregnancy and Infant Cohort Monitoring and Evaluation (PICME), according to a press release.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly after introduction of vaccination, they were working on Sundays and government holidays. They were unable to take up the essential work of maternal and child healthcare services, and monitoring of high risk mothers as well as PICME registration.

Making a mass representation, P. Nirmala, president of the association, in a press release, said COVID-19 vaccination works should be planned in a way that it does not affect the routine works of immunisation, antenatal care, monitoring of mothers and children, maternity assistance scheme and follow-up of high risk women.

All nurses had to work for 10 to 12 hours now, with PICME registration work extending up to 12 midnight. For this, the association demanded eight hours of work every day, ending by 5 p.m. They should be allowed to take leave on government holidays, festivals and weekly off, the association demanded.

They requested that staff of other government departments including teachers could be roped in to upload vaccination details online and appointment of one VHN and one health inspector for every 5,000 population. The association said that they would decide on the next phase of protest if their demands were not addressed.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 5:17:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-village-health-nurses-seek-8-hour-duty-submit-demands/article36600660.ece

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