State-wide protest cripples medical services

State-wide protest cripples medical services
Doctors, nurses and staff of a private hospital during the protest on Wednesday. (Social Media)
Correspondent/Staff Reporter KOHIMA/DIMAPUR, AUG 26 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/26/2020 12:26:50 PM IST

Medical services in both government and private sectors were disrupted across the State on Wednesday following a 24-hour shutdown called by Nagaland In-service Doctors’ Association (NIDA) from 6 am in protest against the assault on doctors in recent times, including the August 21 incident.

All COVID-19 testing laboratories (BSL laboratories and TrueNat) reportedly remained non-functional due to the protest.

State nodal officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) , Dr Nyan Kikon informed Nagaland Post that since the laboratories were non-functional, results of August 26 would be reflected on August 27. He however claimed that all necessary measures for those detected positive were in place during this period.

NHAK unit NIDA representative Dr Angto Phom said the unit supported the 24-hour strike called by the doctors’ body. Except for transportation of COVID patients and emergency cases at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK), all other units remained non-functional, including BSL-3 lab.

Extending solidarity with NIDA’s call for justice, Dr. Kezhalezo Angami of Bethal Medical Centre expressed anguish that physical assaults on health workers were becoming a regular affair. He said, if the doctors violated any law, complaint should be lodged against them. However physically manhandling without any reason had become common, which was unfortunate, he added.

In Dimapur all medical services (government and private), except for emergency cases, remained closed. Pharmacies also remained closed till 6 p.m.

NIDA to wait for inquiry report

Talking to Nagaland Post, NIDA president, Dr. Ritu Thurr said that chief secretary Temjen Toy had given an assurance to look into the issues raised by NIDA and that report of a three-member inquiry panel was awaited. Only after that the association would decide what to do, he added.

Mentioning that the August 21 incident was the third such incident, NIDA president Dr Ritu Thurr explained that the association was forced to call the 24-hour strike as a mark of protest against such recurring incidents. He said NIDA still stood by its three-point charter of demands placed before the State government by its Dimapur unit.

Dr. Thurr clarified that NIDA was not against any individual or any department, but due to repeated assaults on members of the medical fraternity, the association was compelled to call for shutdown of all medical services. Dr. Thurr also expressed regret for inconveniences caused to the general public due to the shutdown. He further thanked private hospitals for supporting the cause of the doctors and expressed the hope that justice would be delivered.

Action will be taken against guilty: Dy.CM 
Expressing concern over the August 21 incident involving a doctor and IR personnel in Dimapur, deputy chief minister, Y Patton, who also hold the home portfolio, assured that the state government, on receiving the committee report, would examine and initiate necessary action against anyone found guilty and deliver justice.
Patton stated that the government took strong exception to the incident and immediately set up an independent enquiry committee headed by an officer in the rank of commissioner & secretary with two senior officers to probe the case and submit report within four days. “The principle of natural justice and rule of law is prerequisite consideration before initiating action,” he added. 
Meanwhile, Patton has appealed to all section of society to cooperate with the government in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

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