Published: 02nd June 2021
SFI, DYFI asks Puducherry Govt to pay final year MBBS students who are on COVID duty
The final year MBBS students began working from May 4 with the primary health centres in Puducherry to help with the rising cases amid the second wave of the pandemic
Final year MBBS students in Puducherry were recruited in May to help out with COVID care management in the Union Territory as cases began rising exponentially amid the second wave of the pandemic. They were asked to visit patients in home isolation, help with triaging and collect information across the UT. However, the students have alleged that they weren't given proper protective equipment or any kind of compensation for the services rendered until now. A few have also demanded that their contribution be considered as internships when they apply for government jobs later. The Pondicherry Divisional Committee of the Democratic Youth Association of India (DYFI) and the Students' Federation of India (SFI) have written to the government demanding the same.
The students began working from May 4 with the primary health centres in Puducherry, some have also been appointed as the medical triage team at these centres. Their responsibilities include receiving patients who have symptoms, collecting data from them in terms of oxygen saturation, temperature, what kind of symptoms and suggest initial medication. The final year students also collect data from patients who are in home isolation via door-to-door visits on a daily basis. They visit almost 30-40 patients every single day. While nearly 45,000 COVID positive cases have been reported in Puducherry, close to 80 per cent of the patients are in home isolation and the rest are admitted to government hospitals.
"These students aren't getting any benefit, no salary or compensation or even proper protective equipment like N95 masks, gloves, PPE kits, etc. Our members are providing these to the students across the UT as much as possible. That's why we demand that they are given a monthly salary like it is being done in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. The TN government has appointed 300 students who have completed their final year examinations in medical colleges as temporary training officers and are giving them a monthly salary of Rs 40,000 through the Chennai Corporation. More than 100 final year students who are trainee doctors in government and private colleges in Puducherry are now working with frontline staff and so they should be also be appointed as temporary trainee medical officers and given a monthly salary and other facilities," says Anand Anbazhagan, President, DYFI.
"They are also travelling on their own while on COVID duty. It is the responsibility of the government to compensate them and keep them safe. In the future, if they apply for government jobs, this period of service should also be considered as training or internship," he adds.