PAMPORE: Hundreds of patients who had come to Sub-district Hospital Pampore and other public health centres for medical formalities were left stranded on Wednesday after 50 percent of the doctors and employees of the National Health Mission (NHM) continued on a strike started a few days ago. The strike call has also hit many Public Health Centres in Pampore and Pulwama areas as most of their staff are working under the NHM. The non-availability of doctors and paramedics in Khrew, Chandhara, Kakapora and other parts of block Pampore has also hit patient care in these areas, affected patients told Kashmir Reader. At least eight doctors and 25 paramedics work at SDH Pampore under the NHM, but all are currently on strike against the government’s failure to fulfil commitments made on regularising their services. Sources told Kashmir Reader that many PHCs are nonfunctional as only NHM employees were running them. In Pulwama, scores of doctors, paramedical staff and Health Department technicians working on a contractual basis under the NHM have also been protesting for the past few days. They held a protest demonstration on Wednesday at SDH Pampore to press for their demands and refused to join duties if these were not met immediately. Patients, meanwhile, are suffering, and attendaonts could be seen knocking at latched doors in the hospital. “Most of the work is being handled by the students of various paramedical colleges who are working as interns in the hospital,” said an attendant, adding that even critical requirements were being handled by these novices. It is pathetic that operations Xrays and ultrasounds were being handled by inexperienced staff. Kashmir Reader received complaints from many localities about the huge rush in the hospitals with patients returning home either agitated or without treatment. “We are protesting, and around 8,000 employees of NHM are on strike for the last few days because the government is not seriousl about our genuine demands. Last year, we protested for 34 days, and the government committed to us on certain demands like regularstation of our services, equall wages for equal work and civil security benefits. But after one year till date no outcome is in our hands,” NHM President, Pulwama, Syed Bilal Ahmad told Kashmir Reader. As he spoke, scores of employees and doctors of district headquarters Pulwama assembled inside BMO office at SDH Pampore and raised slogans and demonstrated with banners and placcards against the government’s apathy towards their just demands. The protesting employees said they had invested the prime of their youth in the service of the department and the community. However the government has shown no concern for their issues of job security, measured wages and lack of social security, they said. “The government promised us certain social security benefits last year, but till date nothing has moved. We are left with no other option but to hit the roads,” District President NHM Bilal Ahmad told Kashmir Reader. “We want regularsation of our services as our performance has remained excellent, due to which the state is getting awards at the national level. We cannot start a fresh career at this stage of life. The government must think of our future and that of our families,” he said.