FMMCH Holds Health Camp for Construction Workers
Mangaluru: A health camp for construction workers was organised by Father Muller Medical College Hospital in association with the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) at the Decennial Hall, FMMCH here, on May 15.
Commending the service done by FMMCH and CREDAI in bringing health benefits to construction workers, state Health and Family Welfare minister U T Khader said that there are different types of people in society when it comes to taking care of one’s health. Some people go to the doctor by themselves if they feel the symptoms of an illness, some go to the doctors after their family tells them, some get to know about illnesses via TV, media and visit the hospital, while others are not even aware that they have an illness. Construction workers fall into the last category of people. They do not have the knowledge of illnesses and rarely visit the hospital.
Generally, most people have access to healthcare but construction workers do not. We need to change many things so that these workers are healthy. In the month of April, “I had made contractors to change the work timings, so that there would be a break during the afternoon for workers because working in the afternoon, in the heat of summer could cause heatstroke but they aren’t aware of this. We also provided clean drinking water to them.”
The minister also suggested the members of CREDAI present, to coordinate with the contractors and enroll all workers with the Provident Fund Department so that they can utilize the benefits of the schemes that have been tailored just for them. “We have planned to provide free treatment for more than 1500 diseases to those who have BPL cards and to workers also. If the contractors provide food to the workers, they’ll happily have it, if not, they will not complain. We need to enroll them into schemes provided for them so that they can lead healthy lives,” he added.
Reiterating the sentiments of the Health minister, MLC Ivan D’Souza said that it is the
responsibility of the contractors and builders to take care of their workers and their health. “These schemes, provided by the Central government, are not just for construction workers, but for all those who come under the labour class. The schemes vary from pensions to scholarships for workers’ children and various others; all you have to do is get registered. Once that is done, a certificate and a card will be issued, and can be used anywhere in the country to identify and claim the benefits of a worker. If the worker is healthy, his family is healthy; if his family is healthy, the society also becomes more healthy and productive.”
He also spoke about Beedi workers and alternative work that can be provided for them, and requested the Health minister to present their plight at the cabinet meetings, so that the matter can be resolved and the workforce can return to doing jobs and supporting their families. Ivan appreciated the work that CREDAI and FMMCH was doing, and urged them to continue their good work. “It is not easy to convince priests to agree to anything. If you present a proposal to them, they will give you replies like ‘I will think about it’, ‘the proposal has to go to higher level/lower level’, etc. But at FMMCH, if anyone comes with noble ideas, they will immediately respond,” jested Ivan.
The President of CREDAI, D B Mehta assured the minister and the MLC that all workers would be registered for the available schemes. He also suggested the CREDAI members present to take steps at construction sites to see to it that their workers are healthy like placing first aid kits on site, providing clean drinking water, testing the drinking water atleast once in six months. “In the construction business, we have many stakeholders and the workers are the largest among them. Since this is an unorganized sector, the workers do not receive benefits.
The Provident Fund Department and the Worker Labour Welfare Board have many schemes. When we start a project, we keep aside 1% as labour costs. Over 100 crores have been deposited in Mangaluru till now, but the benefits are not being passed on due to procedural hassles. We need to assimilate the various schemes, union and state and make claiming benefits easier for the workers. A good worker is a healthy worker; a healthy worker will contribute to increased productivity; and an increase in productivity will provide cost benefits to the projects,” said
Till 11:30 am 385 construction workers had registered for the camp, and were provided with a full range of check-ups ranging from orthodontics to eye check-up.
The programme was compered by Dr Divya Shenoy. Dean of FMMC J P Alva welcomed the guests and the gathering. Administrator of FMMC Hospital, Fr Richard Coelho delivered the vote of thanks. District Health and Family Welfare Officer Dr Ramakrishna Rao, Secretary of CREDAI Naveen Cordoza, Sr Ilene, CREDAI members, FMMCH staff and others were present.