BAIHATA CHARIALI, June 15 - In the fight against novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Multi Purpose Workers (MPWs) of the State Health department are also identified as frontline warriors and their work has drawn appreciation by all sections of the society. These MPWs are working day and night at various quarantine centres, swab collection centres, containment zones and other places as untiring soldiers.
However, in spite of all the hard work they are putting in, the MPWs have been deprived of their earlier fixed travelling allowance (FTA) which was Rs 20/- per day. The 7th Pay Commission abolished the FTA totally. Besides this, they were deprived of rural area working allowance and uniform allowance, which the ANMs get. These workers have also sought further institutional training to upgrade their skills.
Obviously now the MPWs are a vital cog in the State Health and Family Welfare department. Since very beginning in the battle against the virus, they have been playing a vital role ignoring many obstacles and have got engaged in work without any hesitation and not worrying about their own lives. They are young, active, energetic, qualified and firmly focused on realising the goal of the department by providing quality service to the community.
It is known that earlier most of the MPWs were engaged as teachers in various venture and private-run schools in the State. Despite a number of them qualifying in the teachers eligibility test (TET), they did not return back to the Education department due to their interest in serving the people in normal situations and during times of distress. Though the entry-level qualification for the post was HS but most of them are either BSc or MSc passed and they perform all regular activities in the sub centre like weekly immunisation, family planning etc., with ANMs. Moreover, they have to go on house-to-house visits for non communicable diseases (NCD) screening, integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) screening, national vector borne disease control programme (NVBDCP), revised national tuberculosis control programme (RNTCP), de-worming programme, weekly iron and folic acid supplementation programme in the schools etc., along with other programmes as prescribed time to time.
The MPWs say that as their work schedule is the same as that of ANMs, so they should also enjoy the same facilities. Similarly, in the orientation training programme of MPWs held at Sarusajai indoor stadium, the State Health Minister had said that the department would impart two years in-service training to all MPWs and after completion of the training their grade and other facilities would be upgraded. Already, the MPWs have completed one year training and have also got certificates of completion of the training but after that the next training was not imparted to them. So now, they have urged the Health minister to impart another two-year institutional training to make the MPWs more skilled resources of the sub centre, to enable them to give primary treatment to patients at the sub centre. They feel that if the department takes such an initiative and makes available, some common medicines at the sub centre, definitely the local people will witness a better health scenario in the rural areas.