Government Midwives, who are among the health service trade unions on strike, demanded the Health Ministry to increase the fuel allowance paid to them per kilometre, especially with the increasing number of mothers delivering babies at home.
President of the Government Midwifery Association (GMA), Devika Kodituwakku, yesterday (29), lambasted government and local government authorities and fuel shed owners for their insensitivity to the service performed by midwives in the face of the present economic and fuel crisis in the country. “When the cost of even a tea bun has increased parallel to the rising fuel prices, the Government authorities have nether taken measures to ensure that the health services are not affected by it nor made an attempt to at least increase the fuel allowances given to its field services,” she said.
Midwives for the past number of years are paid two rupees per kilometre. The circular stipulating this amount has not been amended for a very long time.
The present fuel crisis is almost on the verge of setting a trend for mothers to deliver their babies at home. She said on 26 June, a mother from the Divulagoda, Nikaweratiya Medical Officer of Health (MoH) area called to perform a home delivery around 5:00 a.m. She had a very limited amount of fuel in her motorbike and had therefore been accompanied by her husband to the particular mother’s home.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne