Thursday, August 16, 2012

The nightingales of Kerala..

They are still on the rooftop, threatening to jump to their deaths.

As the country celebrated Independence Day, three nurses on strike Wednesday threatened to commit suicide by jumping off their hospital's terrace.
The three nurses readied to make the suicidal jump as the strike by a section of the nurses in Kothamangalam Mar Baselious Hospital, numbering around 100, entered its 114th day

The three nurses are deep in debt and this action has been taken out of mere desperation since one of the nurses have not been able to pay back the dues for the educational loan taken for her studies. With a meagre salary and trying to make ends meet, the bank was getting ready to seize one of the nurses' house as part of recovery proceedings.

Among the main demands made by the nurses include the implementation of established working hour norms, shift system and cessation of dismissal of nurses by management under the pretext of some contract conditions.

How did this come about in a state like Kerala where the daily wages of a labourer runs from 400 to 600 IRS per day? Even a household help if hired from an agency has to be paid between 5,000 to 7,000 IRS per month.

 It is not that these hospitals are not making profit. Every in patient hospital bill has this funny entry on it "Nurses service charge".  Is it because most of them are from the fairer gender that they are ignored thus? Here in Kuwait the story is very different since the nurses are being paid well. In fact they are the lucky ones who get increments frequently. I guess it must be because their service is valued out here. It is the case in US and Europe too.

It is also amusing to find that this hospital is run by the Church. This injustice can be resolved by the members of the Church itself. Or is the Church only to be visited on Sundays and to be forgotten on the rest of the days?

Kerala CM silent on Kothamangalam nurses' suicide threat
16 Aug 2012, 1310 hrs IST
Kerala News: THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy refused to react to the strike staged by nurses of the Mar Baselios Hospital in Kothamangalam. Chandy kept silent when reporters asked his opinion on the issue.

One wonders when the CM shall break his silence. Or is he allowed to take only the confession cubicle?


  1. Look, this is not some ill that plagued overnight.
    Nursing- a revered and haloed profession became the first choice of Mallu women( especially the Mallu Christians) mainly because of the laudable work done by the missionaries. Besides nursing, penury drove Mallu christian women to seek shelter in the cloak of a Nun.
    Exploitation of both sects began long ago.

    What was this woman who hugs all and sundry as if she has the plenipotentiary power from the Gods to salvage people, do when the nurses of Amrita hospital went on strike for their rights. They were hounded by goons.

    And what happens now in this Christian mission hospital is no different.

    Let people boycott the priests and the clergy then we can see the difference. Nothing will happen to the souls of the laity and the followers if they do so. God and Christ never decreed that a priest must be the mediator between him and the flock.
    In fact Jesus Christ rebelled against priestdom and for that he was crucified.

    1. No it is not something which has sprouted overnight.. but the management seems to have been caught "pants down".. not only the private hospitals which run for profits but even those which are managed under charity and faith.

      Anil, you seem to have better idea of Christianity than most christians :) but if each christian is enlightened thus, what shall the priests and pastors do? From whence shall their help come from?

  2. No wonder we have nursing shortage of almost 80% in some states. Kerala which produced much of the nursing talent has been in the forefront in having one of the lowest nursing wages while the cost of education in nursing has gone up. Such a paradox, shortage of talent should have lead to higher wages!

    Anyway it is heartening to see them get together and fight for their dignity and respect.

    - Deeps

    (PS: India is back to normaly again. 3 new potential scams were unearthed. Courtesy: CAG)

    1. You got me confused earlier by Deepu...yes it is good that they r finally fightong for their rights. As for scs is there not an end? Nd the next election is due nd no alternative in sight

  3. Hello HK..
    I am a little surprised myself,usually the malayali nurse is quite resilient and has a good support network of like people around her in every hospital. so this whole thing looks a little fishy. why they kept quiet all this time, perhaps they took up the job for little salary to build up experience, or is there a different type of scam here??

    1. Maddy you are right. It is not just the nurses but women in general have been resilient. Guess this has been taken for granted. As for the iszue of nurses, it all started with the suicide of a malayalee nurse in mumbai since she was harrased. The momentum for the movement came with the formation of the nurses union. But i still think it has suceeded at least a bit since tjere are now male nurses. They refused to bear it like thie fem counterparts. But whatever, it is time hospitals shared a decent share of their profit specially since are good in fleecing tje patients.


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