Health volunteers protest, demand permanency

[TamilNet, Thursday, 31 March 2005, 10:55 GMT]
Fifty-five health volunteers, fifty three women and two men Wednesday began hunger strike in front of the office of the North East Provincial Ministry of Health in Trincomalee demanding that they should be made permanent. These volunteers from Kalkuda electorate in the Batticaloa district are out of about two thousand who have been working in medical institutions in the northeast province for more than two decades without any remuneration, health department sources said.


Health volunteers protest
Parliamentarian Mr.Thurairatnasingham speaking to health volunteers who are on hunger protest

Volunteers were recruited at local level, as the health authorities failed to fill vacancies exist in the approved cadre for minor employees in medical institutions in the province several years ago. Since then they have been working expecting confirmation of their employment by the authorities concerned. Few of the health volunteers are paid allowances by some international non-governmental organizations. But the rest are working without any remuneration, health department sources said.

Health volunteers protest
"Give volunteers permanency after 18 years of volunteer work"
Ms.S.Kugendraranee and Ms Anandeswari, President and Secretary of the Health Volunteers Union in Kalkuda Wednesday morning met with Dr.S.Kumaravetpillai, Provincial Director of Health Services and briefed him of volunteers' plight. They told the Provincial Director that existing vacancies for minor grade workers in the medical institutions should not be filled with outsiders, leaving them out.

Provincial Director told the delegation that the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) administration has no authority to appoint even a minor grade worker.

Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham, Trincomalee district parliamentarian visited the fasting health volunteers Wednesday evening and assured his support for their demand. He said he and his party Tamil National Alliance would be taking up this matter with provincial governor and line ministry of health as the provincial council has no authority regarding appointments.


Health volunteers protest
"Do not humiliate us who are humbly performing service to community"
Health volunteers protest
"Remove temporary positions, Create permanent positions"

Mr.Thurairatnasingham appealed to the health workers to suspend their action till he and his colleagues meet the governor and Health Minister in this regard.

However the health volunteers said that they would be continuing their hunger protest till their demand is met, sources said.

 

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