The ongoing pandemic has totally exposed the decades of neglect of the public health system in our country. While lakhs of people have succumbed to the disease, all of us know that but for the total dedication of doctors and other health workers the toll would have been so much more. But periodically we get reports of the horrifying way these health workers are treated and they have no option but to go on strike.
This was the case with the junior doctors of MP as well. They had sent their demands to the authorities. Their demands include 24% hike in their stipend and assurance of a 6% annual hike (which barely covers the rise in the cost of living) and better medical facilities and free treatment for their families infected with covid-19. They want reservation of beds in separate areas for junior doctors treating covid patients in case they get infected. They want their security to be ensured.
On 6th May 2021 the state government had promised them that their demands would be fulfilled. When nothing happened for over three weeks, the doctors were forced to stop work and go on strike on 31st May.
The MP High Court declared their four-day strike illegal and ordered them to resume duties immediately. If the doctors failed to do so, it said that the state government should take strict action against them. Soon after this, the MP Medical University in Jabalpur cancelled the registration of 450 junior doctors. That is when all the junior doctors in the state working in six government hospitals decided to resign. We should remember that when the pandemic was at its peak, these doctors had borne every risk and hardship and diligently stuck to their work.
The President of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors Association, Dr. Arvind Meena declared that the MPJDA would approach the Supreme Court against the decision of the MP High Court. He asserted that members of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association and Medical Officers Association would also join their strike.
Junior as well as senior doctors of other states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, UP, Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra have also supported their strike.