KARACHI: Representing junior doctors, nurses, paramedics, lady health workers, the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) is back to its protest threatening a complete closure of outpatient department services at public sector hospitals and the upcoming anti-polio drive.
The alliance held its second day of agitation by holding a token strike from 8am till 10am at all government-run hospitals across Sindh on Tuesday.
“We are forced to resume our protest after almost two months since the government hasn’t delivered on any of its promises,” Dr Faizan Memon of Young Doctors’ Association told Dawn.
He regretted that there was no progress on health workers’ issues despite multiple meetings with government representatives.
“We withdrew from our demand regarding the Covid risk allowance on the official assurance that our salaries and allowances would be brought at par with those of our counterparts in other provinces. But, the government’s assurances haven’t materialised,” he said.
GHA to resume protest due to unfulfilled promises
The alliance has demanded a uniform policy for professional allowance, timely appointments and promotions of all cadres and bringing salaries of doctors in Sindh at par with their counterparts in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
It plans to hold a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday (tomorrow) where it would announce its action plan in coming days.
“If the government doesn’t pay heed to our demands, healthcare providers wouldn’t vote for PPP and boycott upcoming election duties and anti-polio campaign,” he said.
He added that the withdrawal of health risk allowance had affected all workers and the protest would not be ended this time unless this grievance was addressed.
Last year, patient services at public sector hospitals across Sindh had been paralysed for over a month on account of medical staffs’ protest, which also saw clashes with police that led to injuries due to baton-charge by law enforcers.
Sources said the closure of all key medical services at public sector hospitals caused a lot of difficulties to poor patients, particularly those who couldn’t afford private treatment, as mortalities had been reported during the strike.
The agitation started after the health department withdrew the Covid-19 risk allowance in October last year.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2023