Community healthcare providers continue agitation
Community Health Care Providers (CHCPs) have been continuing their agitation programme for the second day today demanding nationalisation of their job in the community clinics.
Several thousand healthcare providers, who work at the grassroots-level, took position in front of the Jatiya Press Club since the morning.
"We will continue our programme until our demands are met," said CHCP Vice President Md Suman Matbar.
He also threatened to go for hunger strike from February 1 if their demands are not met before that.
The Community Clinic Project, which began its operations in 1998, has nearly 14,000 community healthcare providers (CHCP) in the equal number of community clinics across the country.
The operations of the project were closed during the BNP-Jamaat regime in 2001-2008, but started again in 2009 when the Awami League-led government came to power under the project – Revitalization of Community Healthcare Initiative in Bangladesh (RCHCIB).
The government set up clinic buildings on the land donated by locals in a community and provided medicines and some machinery and appointed the CHCPs who work from 9:00am to 3:00pm six days a week.
"The government has not brought our jobs under revenue budget despite its decision in 2013. As a result, our salary remained the same, in total Tk 16,700 a month and we have no increment or any other facilities," Suman Matbar told this correspondent.
The CHCPs, who have been trained by the government, therefore became frustrated and are leaving jobs, he added.
"Authorities have repeatedly assured us of bringing our job under revenue budget, but in vain. We will go for tougher programme now until our demands are realised," Suman said, demanding attention of the prime minister.
Contacted, Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general at the Directorate General of Health Services, said they held meeting with the CHCPs on January 25 and offered them that the community clinics would be operated under a foundation that would be autonomous.
"In this case, they will get the salaries and other benefits like those of the government jobs. Yet, they are holding demonstrations. This is unexpected," he told this correspondent.
Operations of the community clinics under an autonomous body will provide more flexibility and dynamism in its services, Dr Azad said.
Suman Matbar said if they are not brought under the revenue budget, there are risks that the community clinics will close with the change of regime.