AIIMS Nurses' Union protest over working condition; 329 workers contracted COVID-19 so far

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) Protest by the AIIMS Nurses' Union over their working condition entered the third day on Wednesday as the number of workers infected by COVID-19 at the premier hospital in the national capital stood at 329, with 47 of them being nursing staff.

In a letter to AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, the nurses body has put forward a number of demands including implementation of a uniform four-hour shift with personal protective equipment in COVID-19 areas of the hospital, a uniform rotation policy between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 areas, and establishment of proper donning and doffing area.

President of the union Harish Kajla said working at a stretch for six hours, which usually extended to seven to eight hours at times, while donning PPEs was adversely affecting the physical well-being of the nursing staff, especially the women.

'Several of our staff are facing health complications like body rashes and urinary tract infections, while several others have lost weight.

'Women are having issues related to the menstruation as they cannot change sanitary pads with PPE on, neither can they go to washroom. Once you wear a PPE you cannot take it off just like that and thus we are forced to wear adult diapers during duty, but it's so uncomfortable,' Kajla said.

He said, 'As our health is adversely affected, we are getting prone to contracting the infection fast.' Since there was no response from the administration the protest would continue, Kajla said, but clarified that the work is not getting hampered.

'Nursing staff participate in the protest after their shift gets over.' Since February 1, as many as 329 healthcare workers including four faculty members, 17 resident doctors, 47 nurses, 86 hospital attendants, 62 sanitation staff and 77 security personnel among others have been infected by the virus.

AIIMS Medical Superintendent Dr DK Sharma said, '329 healthcare workers have so far contracted coronavirus since February 1. Several of those who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and rejoined duty.' So far three persons from the AIIMS succumbed to COVID-19. An electrician who had tested positive for the disease died on Sunday. A sanitation supervisor and a mess worker at the RPC canteen died due to the disease last week. PTI PLB NSD NSD