As the world is fighting against Covid-19, which has drastically damaged the countries including US, China, Italy, Spain which were far more developed in healthcare and their economy was also strong. But the pandemic has made them kneel on toes.
The Medical, Nursing and Paramedical staff is fighting on the fore front without caring for themselves as there is shortage of PPEs and at some places where PPEs are available there is no adequate supply. The tireless efforts of Medical and Nursing faculty needs a huge respect and honour as they are fighting on frontline.
In our Jammu and Kashmir, the dearth of Nursing and Paramedical Staff is a grave concern since long time. The staff which is working in newly established Medical Colleges is mostly on contract basis who were hired in the month of March last year under SRO -24. Since then they are working day and night to perform their duties as there was no other staff in these new Medical colleges. It was this Nursing staff who faced every challenge during the lockdown period post 370 abrogation when there was no transport facility, no mobile and internet connectivity. Some have been posted in Kathua, Doda and Rajouri they didn’t come home and performed their duties with full zeal and enthusiasm. This Nursing staff which includes maximum females have faced lot of challenges during this course of time.
It was this Contractual Nursing staff who were and are still at the fore front fighting this deadly pandemic since late February 2020. As the disease has widely spread through different nations world wide , it has also affected our Jammu and Kashmir, and the cases are still increasing which is a bit worrisome. The number has increased to 270 as on 13th April with four deaths. If the sources are to be believed two nurses have also contracted the infection. This Nursing staff left no stone unturned in performing their duties to care for the patients without caring for themselves as PPEs were not available in good quantity in the initial period.
This staff need a huge salute from all sections of the society and their efforts are being appreciated on a large scale by each and every segment of our society. These frontline warriors have no job security still they worked with full zeal and fervour, this staff has no risk allowance as are being paid to doctors.
The time when JK Govt has ordered that all staff members who are retiring from their duties during this period shall continue to perform their duties following shortage of staff as they have expertise in combating the deadly pandemics and also who have already retired from the department should report to Office of Director Health for joining without any formalities. The time when the nursing students are being deployed in many hospitals in order to fufill the gap of staff shortage. At the same time instead of giving these employees extra allowances, the medical colleges have served termination letters to these Contractual Nursing Staff members leaving them in a state of anxiety and stress.
It is high time for all of us as a responsible members of society we should support these warriors and we are requesting higher authorities to kindly extend their contract period so that the patient care may not get affected and also the bread and butter of these families will not suffer. Nurses Association Kashmir has forwarded a letter to financial commissioner in this regard and we are waiting for the good response from authorities.
Banday Abid Shafi Misbahi, Nursing Research Scholor