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Deployed To Manage Covid19, Intern Docs Seek Respectable Stipend

by Khalid Bashir Gura

SRINAGAR: The medical interns at the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar are demanding they be treated at par with other healthcare workers and have sought incentives that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had announced for frontline health workers on May 3. These doctors are working at the forefront amidst the deadly virulent second wave of Coronavirus.

Lt Governor addressing the first batch of MBBS students of GMC Doda

Lowest on the ladder of delivering patient care, these greenhorns have been excluded from incentives despite working day and night during the pandemic and acting as a supplement to the healthcare workforce in dealing with the surging load of patients.

“We are given half of the stipend that is paid to our counterparts in other states of India. Even an unskilled worker earns more than us. We get Rs 12000 per month,” one of the internees, Dr Tajamul, one of the internee said. They are spending on travel and accommodation and this amount is too little to suffice for that. “Doctors to nurses to drivers to sanitation workers are getting the incentives but nobody is talking about us and administration is also not paying any heed.”

Governor and Member of Parliament Mohammad Akbar Lone with students while inauguring GMC Baramulla

In a bid to contain the contagion in Jammu and Kashmir, earlier this month, the administration had announced incentives for frontline health workers dealing with Covid19 patients besides granting an extension to retiring doctors up to December.

The administration provided incentives of Rs 10,000 per month for resident doctors, medical officers, and postgraduates dealing with the Covid19 patients, Rs 7,000 for nursing and paramedical staff, and Rs 5,000 for attendants, drivers, and sweepers.

According to many senior doctors, the incentives would have acted as an encouragement to the efforts the internees are investing amidst the pandemic.

Dr Iqbal Saleem, Professor of Surgery at SMHS tweeted: “Every person from a janitor/paramedic/intern/resident to a consultant has a responsibility in disaster management. The success will depend on when every person does his job. Interns are an important part of this team and should be treated as professionals and not as pushovers.”

“Internees are new to the field and they should be encouraged,” said, Dr Aatif Sanaie, President Resident Doctors Association.

As many of the internees have turned positive and their families also, according to them their pleas amidst desperation are not being heeded.

PK Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said that the administration is mulling to provide incentives and will take a call on it soon.

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