Advertisement

Mumbai's TB Vaccine Trials Halt After Conflict Between BMC & Health Workers

In order to stop the spread of tuberculosis, CHVs were expected to survey 12 wards for targeted intervention in six high-risk groups as part of this trial study.

Mumbai's TB Vaccine Trials Halt After Conflict Between BMC & Health Workers
SHARES

Community health volunteers (CHV) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been in conflict for the past few months. The former has been demanding payment for unpaid bills and better wages, which has caused the suspension of some important plans, such as the adult Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine trial.

 

In order to stop the spread of tuberculosis, CHVs were expected to survey 12 wards for targeted intervention in six high-risk groups as part of this trial study, which was to be carried out in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP).

Sumedha Mane, a CHV in Goregaon, looks after 1,500 individuals in her area. She said that they had sent them to assess the Maratha reserve in January. Their bank accounts have not yet received the money for that. They declined to participate in the BCG study in April due to this and they desire for greater compensation.

 

High-risk groups comprised people with a history of tuberculosis within the previous five years and the people in their home who were also self-declared diabetics, smokers, malnourished individuals, and elderly people.

 

The city TB officer, Dr. Varsha Puri, stated that while the survey wrapped up for roughly 6,000 people, they intended to include 60,000–70,000 people. It has taken longer to launch the initiative. It's because the CHVs are refusing to work because their dues are still outstanding. However, there were additional reasons for the delay, such as the non-arrival of participant permission forms.

 

She further mentioned that BMC will now be enlisting NGOs to help with the survey as a substitute. She said that they anticipate getting back on track this month, but the work is currently on pause. The CHVs went on strike for three days last week over long-standing issues, including pensions, provident funds, and salary increases from INR 12,000 to INR 18,000, which hindered important preventive measures relating to the monsoon.

 

The unions have chosen to proceed with the protest gradually, even though the CHVs have now returned to work. The head of the Municipal Corporation Health Workers Union, Advocate Prakash Devdas, declared that the negotiations with BMC had failed. The CM's office has promised to step in after the MLC elections. Until then, ward-wise CHVs will be sitting in protest in Azad Maidan after their regular workday. There will be between thirty and forty CHVs and their twenty-four ward-level representatives on protest each day.

 

On the civic body's part, officials insist that CHVs are fairly paid as they are just volunteers, and the Bombay High Court (HC) order that recognised the employee-employer relationship between the two has been challenged by the municipal body. Devdas said the court’s verdict should not be mixed up with their demands, as what they want can be offered to contractual workers too.

Read this story in हिंदी
RELATED TOPICS
Advertisement
MumbaiLive would like to send you latest news updates