Junior doctors at six government hospitals in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday went on an indefinite strike for their demands including better treatment facilitiesb for their colleagues who contract coronavirus infection.
The junior doctors who serve in COVID-19 wards are not part of the strike but they too would join in if demands are not met, their association warned.
"We are trying our best to resolve the situation and expecting positive results today itself," Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang told PTI.
Of around 3,000 junior doctors, 15 to 20 per cent have been deployed to treat coronavirus patients.
They too will join the agitation if the state government did not give a written assurance to fulfil the demands by evening, MP Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) president Dr Arvind Meena said.
They did not want to go on strike during the pandemic but had no choice left, he said.
"For the last six months we have been drawing the state government's attention to our problems. On May 3, we got assurance from minister Vishwas Sarang which has not been fulfilled yet," he told PTI.
"Twenty-five per cent of junior doctors have been infected by coronavirus to date. We are demanding guarantee of bed allotment for the junior doctors who get infected," Meena said.
Besides, latest COVID -19 treatment should be made available to them as the treatment protocol keeps changing every two months due to virus mutation, he added.
"Most importantly, the state government should provide treatment to junior doctors in the cashless mode. At present we have to incur the expenditure which is reimbursed after submission of bills," Dr Meena said.
Another demand of agitating doctors is that their one year's fee be waived as the academic session could not be held due to the outbreak of coronavirus last year.