Leaders of the Bangladesh Health Assistants' Association – a central organisation of health inspectors, assistant health inspectors and health assistants – have threatened to go on a work abstention throughout the country, from 26 November, if their demand is not met.
They announced this at a press conference at the National Press Club on Friday.
Sheikh Rabiul Alam Khokon, president of the association, said they had been demanding, since 1998, that pay inequality be eliminated through the amendment of recruitment rules, but the government has not heeded their demand.
If the demand is not met in the meantime, health assistants will refrain from all activities, including the Expanded Programme on Immunization, from 26 November, he said.
At present, health inspectors have been working at 13th/14th grade, assistant health inspectors at 14th grade and health assistants at 15th/16th grade. The recruitment rules should be amended to promote them to the 11th, 12th and 13th grades, respectively, the leaders of the association added.
Wasuddin Rana, member secretary of the association, said in July 2018, the then-health minister formed a committee to take necessary measures to meet their demands. Later in February 2020, the incumbent health minister assured them he would meet their demands. However, the decisions have not been implemented yet.
Today's announcement is the result of the last 22 years of frustration and deprivation, Sheikh Rabiul Alam Khokon, president of the association, said.
More than 500 health inspectors, assistant health inspectors and health assistants from eight divisions of the country attended the press conference.