Friday, July 30, 2021

Demands of contract medical workers to be brought to Cabinet, says health minister

Dr Adham Baba says a working paper on the matter has been completed.

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Health Minister Dr Adham Baba says the issue of contract medical officers who have not been absorbed into permanent posts will be raised at a Cabinet meeting.

As of May 31, he said, there were 35,216 contract appointments for the three main schemes, namely 23,077 UD41 medical officers, 5,000 UG41 dental officers, and 7,139 UF41 pharmacists.

“I urge doctors in the existing contract scheme to be patient and calm.

“The working paper has been completed and we will see the decision of the Cabinet later,” he said when asked by reporters about the matter at a press conference on the development of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme today.

Earlier, Adham said the health ministry had implemented salary adjustments to the contract medical officer scheme, from UD41 to UD43, which was almost equal to the salary of a permanent medical officer.

The media reported that about 23,000 contract doctors would go on a nationwide strike on July 26, after their efforts for permanent absorption into the service failed to yield any results.

Meanwhile, Adham said a total of 200 psychology officers had been appointed since the end of 2020, adding that they would continue to deliver mental health services for frontliners and the community into 2022.

He said since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), the mental health scenario in the country had shown an increasing impact of mental health problems.

“As many as 91.2% of the helpline calls we receive require emotional support and counselling.

“Among the reasons are immense stress, depression, loss of hope to continue living, loss of a source of income, disputes with spouses and family and stigma against infection,” he said.

He said the health ministry and various other ministries and departments were always working in an integrated manner to implement initiatives in various aspects to address mental health problems.

He said these include enhancing basic psychology assistance training for frontliners and members of other agencies, and implementing the concept of “task shifting” which is community empowerment by providing training and skills to individuals outside the ministry, to deliver advocacy and support as well as psychosocial intervention for the community.

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