Pune ZP ends contract of 594 staff on Covid duty
Zilla Parishad (ZP) Pune has ended the services of staff hired on a contractual basis during the second wave of the Covid 19 from September. This is the second time Pune ZP has curtailed the number of contractual staff. In June, the services of 957 contractual health workers had been terminated and now 594 workers, including doctors, nurses, staff, and technicians are being relieved of their duties. As this move will reduce the number of operational Covid care facilities, the active patients will be moved to the nearest government facilities which have regular staff.
Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer, Pune Zilla Parishad, issued the order of curtailing these health workers and it has been applicable from September 1. According to this order, the services of contractual workers hired for dedicated Covid health centre (DCHC), Covid care centre (CCC) and dedicated health hospitals (DHC) have been put to an end on August 31.
“The number of active patients is assessed and they would be transferred to other government hospitals. I have instructed the health officials that this transition should not cause any inconvenience to patients,” said Prasad.
Following rise in cases during the second wave, Pune ZP had conducted rapid recruitment drives. Almost 2,000 contractual staff were hired in March and April. Citing budget constraint, ZP had curtailed 957 health workers. According to sources, the state government has directed to let go the contractual staff as the Centre has not approved required funds.
Officials predicted that the curtailing may create shortage of health staff in rural parts because currently there is also the additional responsibility of vax drive against Covid19.
“Patients would be shifted to other government facilities but there would also need more workers.
“Also, the health system would be short of workers. The Covid active patient number is under control for now. We will try to adjust now with regular staff and the workers under National Rural Health Mission. If the situation worsens or the patients’ number increases then I am sure the state government would make some other provision to recruit health staff on contract,” said a senior ZP official on condition of anonymity.
As September is progressing, the caseload of active Covid patients is recording a gradual increase and rural areas are contributing to half of that number. On September 3, the number of active Covid cases in Pune district was recorded at 10,042 which had fallen to almost 7,600 in mid-August. On September 3, there were 5,714 active cases in rural areas. Pune ZP has already identified 91 villages as hotspots and district administration has also been instructed to give special attention to rural areas as the weekly positivity rate in this unit was recorded at 4.8% for the last week.