On Monday, a huge crowd was witnessed outside Arogya Bhawan, the building of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s health department, despite the nationwide lockdown.
Most of them were applicants who had come to attend the walk-in interviews for the posts of medical officers and para-medical staff.
The interviews, held by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Urban Health Society, were for the 1000 urban health clinics, which were announced in this year’s state Budget.
However, following the coronavirus outbreak, Health Commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare, had instructed all the municipal corporations and nagar palikas to ensure that 1000 health clinics get operational at the earliest. Out of these, 354 clinics will be set up in Ahmedabad.
Following this, the AMC had issued advertisements for the contract-based recruitments, calling for “corona warriors”, two days ahead of the interview in social media and television.
According to AMC Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bhavin Solanki, the interviews were conducted at a short notice because of the “manpower crisis”.
However, more than 1000 applicants turned up for the 354 posts of para-medical staff. For the medical officer post, for which MBBS degree was a prerequisite and also had 354 vacancies, only 54 came.
On the crowd gathered outside the building, during the lockdown, Dr. Solanki said, “We did not anticipate that the applicants will be accompanied by their family members too who gathered outside the gate.”
One of the applicants, Devyani Rathod, had come with her father. The 24-year-old woman, who holds a diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) said she needs a job to run the family of seven members.
Both freshers and experienced candidates had reached the venue since 6 am for interviews scheduled at 10.30 am, despite the lockdown.
Sangeeta Solanki (28), another GNM diploma holder, was holding her five-year-old son’s hand and running towards the gate as the announcement for applications was called out while her husband Prakash followed them.
“I am a diamond polisher. My friend informed me about the walk-in interviews so we rushed here early morning hoping to get a job. We were stopped several times on our way by police but we showed them Sangeeta’s certificates and they let us go,” said Prakash.
Jagruti Parmar, 33, who works as a nurse at AMC-run SVP Hospital for last two years, had also appeared for the interview.
“Since the period of our contract at the SVP Hospital is about to expire anytime this came up as a good opportunity,” says Parmar, who is the only earning member in her family.
The health officials supervising the interviews revealed that nearly 25 per cent of the applicants were from outside Ahmedabad and other neighbouring districts.
When asked about the possibility of holding an online recruitment process, Dr. Solanki said it would have resulted in confusion and verification of documents will be a time-consuming process.
The interviews were conducted Monday by AMC Urban Health Society for the posts of auxiliary nurse midwifery (ANM), General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM), Multi Purpose Health Worker (MPHW) and medical officers. The salary structure for medical officer is 30,000 while for paramedical staff it is 10,000 per month.
Anticipating shortage of medical staff due to the coronavirus outbreak, the AMC plans to handover the joining letters to the selected ones within three days.
“The process of shortlisting candidates will be completed within three days,” said Dr. Solanki.
When asked on the nearly 20 per cent shortage in the existing health staff of the AMC, Solanki said that recruitment process for that too is underway.
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