By Bizodisha Bureau, March 25, 2020: Odisha government on Wednesday announced four months’ advance salary for doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff while launching a massive recruitment for thousands of doctors, nurses, paramedics and multipurpose health workers offering them lucrative remuneration to join the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The doctors, nurses and all health personnel across the state will receive their salaries for the months of April, May, June and July in the month of April, Patnaik said in a video message.

Lauding the dedication of the health personnel, Patnaik said, “There is no comparison of your (doctors, nurses and other staff) selfless service to the people. I and the people of Odisha are with you and your families. I salute your spirit.”

He also appealed to the people to treat doctors and hospital staff with respect and affection “as they work day in and day out by sacrificing their comforts”.

Meanwhile, the state government came up with huge advertisements for healthcare professionals apprehending a doomsday-like scenario of a huge number of Covid-19 positive patients by May-end. The state has reported two positive cases so far.

The health and family welfare department asked qualified specialists, MBBS doctors, staff nurses and other paramedics including retired people to work on contract for next three months in the special coronavirus wards of district hospitals as well as medical colleges. While the state government wants to recruit around 8000 nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, radiographers and multipurpose health workers, it also wants to rope in as many doctors as possible.

While the specialist doctors would get Rs 5000 a day, MBBS doctors would receive Rs 3000 per day. Staff nurses, lab technicians and radiographers would get Rs 1000 a day while multipurpose health workers would be paid Rs 850 a day.

The state faces a piquant situation as there are no adequate ICU beds with ventilator and oxygen facilities. The State has just about 90 such beds (including those in private facilities) to treat Covid-19 patients who need ventilator support. The state government is currently scouting sites to build special hospitals for coronavirus with 1000 beds and 150 ICU beds. The state government is also planning to ramp up its testing facilities from two labs (RMRC and AIIMS, Bhubaneswar) to two more that can test 200 samples a day.

Subroto Bagchi, the government spokesperson on coronavirus in Odisha, on Tuesday said if people do not adhere to a strict lockdown then there would be a minimum of 2345 and a maximum of 36,000 coronavirus-infected people by the end of May. Till Wednesday Odisha had only two positive cases.

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