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JHASA Dental Cadre meeting in Bokaro sparks vital discussions on healthcare reforms

Bokaro: A one-day meeting of the North Chotanagpur Divisional level of the Jharkhand State Health Services Association (JHASA) Dental Cadre took place on Sunday at the auditorium of Bokaro Club. The meeting aimed at strengthening the JHASA organisation and addressing various issues faced by dental officers across the division.

Inauguration and Scientific Session 

The event was inaugurated by the chief guest, Dr. C.K. Sahi, along with other dignitaries by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Following the inauguration, a scientific session was conducted where Dr. Shahrukh Akbar, a dental officer from Sadar Hospital Pakur, delivered a lecture on managing medical emergencies in a dental clinic. His presentation was well-received and appreciated by all attendees for its practical insights.

Key Demands and Issues Discussed

State vice president of JHASA, Dr. Sharad Kumar, highlighted several pressing demands:

1.  Salary Increase for NHM Dentists: An increase in the salaries of dentists appointed under the National Health Mission (NHM) was strongly advocated.
2.  Age Relaxation in Recruitment: It was proposed that dentists working with NHM and District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) should receive age relaxation in regular recruitment by the Jharkhand government, prioritizing their experience.
3.  Linking Dental Work to Ayushman Bharat Yojana: Integrating dental services with the Ayushman Bharat Yojana was emphasized to ensure broader healthcare coverage.
4. Creation of Dental Posts: Establishing dentist positions at all health centers was urged, reflecting the structure implemented in Bihar.
5. Establishment of Dental Hygienist and Assistant Posts: The creation and recruitment of dental hygienist and dental assistant posts at all health centers were recommended.

Additional State-Level Demands

A fourteen-point memorandum was submitted to the Principal Secretary, with four specific demands related to the dental cadre:

1.  Retirement Age Extension: Increasing the retirement age of dental officers from 65 to 67 years, similar to MBBS professionals.
2. Rule Amendments and DACPs: Revising the rules to offer the benefit of four Dynamic Assured Career Progressions (DACPs), as practiced in Bihar.
3. Pending Promotions: Granting overdue promotions that have been pending for five years to dental officers.
4. Inclusion of PG Dental Officers in Specialist Cadre: Including postgraduate dental officers in the cadre of specialist doctors, akin to MBBS counterparts.

Union’s Stand and Future Actions

JHASA President Dr. P.P. Sah emphasised the union’s determination to address these demands. He warned that if the demands are not met by August 15th, a state-wide agitation would be organised. Secretary Dr. Thakur Mrityunjay Singh reiterated the union’s commitment to the legitimate demands of dental professionals and expressed opposition to geo-tagging photos in Bokaro, while advocating for biometric attendance without linking it to salaries.

Chief Guest’s Address

Dr. C.K. Sahi, Director General of Health Services, Government of Jharkhand, urged dentists to perform their duties with sincerity and assured them that their issues would be addressed. He promised the establishment of dental chairs where needed and emphasised making dental services accessible to the public.

Participation and Appreciation 

The event saw active participation from notable members including Dr. Shamim Akhtar, Dr. Lal Manjhi, Dr. Dinesh Prasad, Dr. A.B. Prasad, Dr. Arvind Kumar, and Dr. Vikas Kumar. They praised the event for fostering harmony among dental professionals. The membership campaign initiated by Dr. Sharad Kumar was also commended.

Closing and Acknowledgments 

The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Niket Chaudhary, dental officer at Sadar Hospital Bokaro, and joint secretary of the state JHASA dental cadre. Significant contributions to the successful conduct of the meeting were made by Dr. Neha Verma, Dr. Mahalakshmi, Dr. Richa, Dr. S.R. Mahato, Dr. Tulika, and Dr. Sanjay Kumar. Approximately sixty dentists from the division attended, reflecting strong support within the dental community.

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