Measles-Rubella vaccination begins amid protests by health workers
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat marked the launch of the campaign – which is being held by the Uttarakhand government with support from Centre, World Health Organization and UNICEF – at Rajiv Gandhi Navoday School in Nanurkheda area of Dehradun.dehradun Updated: Oct 30, 2017 19:08 IST
The Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign was kick started by the Uttarakhand government on Monday, but the month-long drive is likely to be full of hiccups as sections of ground level health workers have threatened to boycott it.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat marked the launch of the campaign – which is being held by the Uttarakhand government with support from Centre, World Health Organization and UNICEF – at Rajiv Gandhi Navoday School in Nanurkheda area of Dehradun.
Over 28.25 lakh children between 9 months and 15 years of age in the state will be given a single shot of MR vaccine during the drive, after which it will become a part of routine immunization in the hill state. The campaign’s aim is to eliminate measles and controlling rubella/congenital rubella syndrome by 2020.
In a setback to the health department, however, various groups of health workers including auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) and Asha workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) boycotted the drive on Monday to press for their demands related to revision in pay grades, hike in honorarium, incentives other work benefits among others.
Later in the day, one of the protesting groups of ANMs under the banner of Matra Sishu Parivar Kalyan Mahila Karmachari Sangh, decided to postpone the boycott after an assurance on their demands by Dr Archana Srivastava, director general (medical health and family welfare).
“Our Dehradun unit boycotted the drive on its inaugural day, but decided to postpone it till November 5. If positive action is not taken on our demand (for providing assured career progression benefits) by the DG till then, we’ll be forced to go on a statewide boycott of all work, including the MR vaccination campaign,” Guddi Matura, state head of the association, said. There are over 150 ANMs in Dehradun district and over 2000 ANMs in the state.
On the other hand, a section of Asha workers, associated with Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), continued to protest. “We have been protesting for over 65 days now but our demands have not even been considered by the government,” said one of the protesting workers who have sitting on protest at Parade Ground for over two months.