COVID-19 in Mumbai: Interns on duty demand stipend and insurance
Students working as interns in emergency departments, emergency medicine, cardiology, neurology and nursing in government medical hospitals have raised the issue that they are being made to work without stipend and insurance. Colleges linked to hospitals claim they need help from interns as the number of Covid-19 positive cases are increasing.
Students complained that they are not receiving any stipend for their internships despite being on Covid-19 duty. A student on request of anonymity said, "I have been working in the Covid-19 emergency medical ward since two months in a government hospital but I have not received any stipend or insurance. I am risking my health because I am in close proximity with positive patients."
Santosh Jagtap, another student said, "I had returned to my native place due to the lockdown. But I returned to Mumbai because I had to complete my one-year internship. I have been serving as an intern in a Covid lab since July without any stipend. The government should provide us with stipend and insurance."
Medical college authorities stated they need manpower because the number of coronavirus cases are increasing daily. A senior professor of a government medical college said, "Students pursuing medical programmes have to complete a one-year internship without pay. We need their support during such unprecedented times."
Students claim they will be compelled to go on a strike if they are not given stipend and insurance. Jayashri Chettiar, a nursing intern said, "We are working for eight hours every day without any pay. If it was not for Covid-19 we would have not demanded a stipend or insurance."