Around 4,000 resident doctors working with government and municipal corporation-run medical colleges in Maharashtra have called a strike from Tuesday to demand a stipend hike, fixed duty hours and more holidays.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has demanded two-month paid leave for pregnant doctors and those detected with tuberculosis. Currently, if they take leave for these reasons, the doctors have to extend their term by six months. Resident doctors have to put in three years of practice at a medical college hospital as part of their post-graduate course.
The association said that in the last three years, 42 doctors in Mumbai have contracted tuberculosis (TB). “Half of them have multi-drug resistant TB, which they contracted while they were treating patients. They end up losing a term because of the leave they take for their treatment,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, president, MARD.
Apart from paid leave, resident doctors have also demanded a hike in their stipend. At present, they are paid Rs43,000 per month. Asking for increased security, MARD officials have also claimed that in the past three years, there have been at least 50 cases where relatives of patients have assaulted doctors.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a body of allopathic practitioners in the country, has supported the strike. “The issues they are fighting for have been unresolved for the past 40 years. The quality of living of these students is deplorable,” said Dr S Utture from IMA.