Protesting health workers threaten to boycott anti-polio drive

Published September 5, 2015
Health workers protest in front of the DHO office in Bannu on Friday. — INP
Health workers protest in front of the DHO office in Bannu on Friday. — INP

LAKKI MARWAT: Hundreds of lady health workers (LHWs) and lady health supervisors (LHSs) staged protest demonstrations in parts of Khyber Pakhunkhwa on Friday demanding release of their salaries, withheld for the last few months.

The protesters threatened to boycott the anti-polio drive scheduled to be launched in the current month of September. They said that they had not been paid salaries for the last three months.

“We cannot think about to educate our children in standard educational institutions nor we have a single penny to run our houses,” the protesters said.

LHWs hold rallies in different districts to demand regularisation, release of salaries

A lady health worker said that the government was using delaying tactics to implement the judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan according to which the LHWs and LHSs had been given their due rights.

“Despite legislation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, the provincial government has not yet given the status of regular employee to the female health workers,” said the protesters.

They demanded payment of pay scale-based salaries through accountant general office and asked the relevant quarters to prepare and complete service books of LHWs and LHSs.

In Lakki Marwat, over 100 lady health workers and lady health supervisors blocked the Lakki-Bannu road to press the government for acceptance of their demands.

The transporters and commuters faced hardships owing to closure of the busy road. However, traffic wardens rushed to the area and diverted traffic to alternate routes.

Later, district nazim Ishfaq Ahmad Khan Meenakhel and district health officer Dr Abdul Ghaffar Wazir held talks with the protesters and assured them that they would be paid salaries within the next couple of days.

In Karak, the LHSs and LHWs took to streets and set the deadline of September 9 for releasing their withheld salaries.

The protesters said that their salaries were stopped by the government for the last four months. They said that the case of regularising their service was pending since July 2012 but the government was making lame excuses to regularise them.

They said that they should be given the status of civil servants. They criticised the government for its indifferent attitude with the leady health staff.

In Mardan, scores of LHWs and LHSa, office staff and drivers held a protest demonstration and blocked the busy Shamsi road to traffic for several hours.

The protesters demanded implementation of the order of their regularisation, payment of arrears and release of their salaries.

They set 48 hours ultimatum for fulfillment of their demands and threatened to boycott the anti-polio campaign if their demands were not met.

In Bannu, LHWs and LHSs also staged a protest demonstration to seek regularisation and release of their salaries.

The protesters after passing through various roads gathered outside Women and Children Hospital where they blocked the road.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2015

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