The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Docs back, hospital on track

Cuttack, July 23: Nearly 250 junior doctors, who went on strike last week demanding round-the-clock testing centres for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis-B at SCB Medical College, resumed work this morning.

Even as the Junior Doctors’ Association (JDA) called off their strike late Saturday night after partial implementation of demands and much persuasion from the hospital administration, they started working from this morning.

“The decision was taken after testing centres for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis-B started functioning round-the-clock at the gynaecology and obstetrics department and at the OPD,” said JDA general secretary P.K. Behera. “Even as 12 laboratory technicians had been appointed on an ad hoc basis for now, the hospital administration has assured to appoint permanent staff soon,” Behera added.

Earlier, the lone testing facility at the gynaecology department that functioned for fixed hours was meant to ascertain if any infection had been passed on to a baby from an HIV-positive mother.

The junior doctors had ceased work since July 18 following detection of two Hepatitis-B cases close on the heels of three full-blown HIV cases at the gynaecology and obstetrics department in the absence of a proper screening centre.

“In sensitive departments like gynaecology, surgery and out-patient wing of the hospital, the doctors are at risk if infections are not detected at the very beginning. JDA members regret the inconvenience caused to patients due to the agitation, but the centres were necessary” said a doctor.

Significantly, a surgeon had fallen victim to AIDS at MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur, Bengal.

During the strike, doctors at the at SCB Medical College, people visiting the OPD had to either wait for hours for their turn, or return without treatment. The hospital authorities had a difficult time providing normal services to patients, especially at the outpatients department, in the morning.

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