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PESHAWAR: The health department has launched an inquiry into alleged corruption in regularisation of staff by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa coordinator of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programme, according to officials.

They said that the probe, to be headed by Director-General Health Services Dr Ayub Rose, was ordered by Health Secretary Abid Majeed on several complaints lodged by the staffers of the programme.

The staffers had complained to secretary health about corrupt practices of the coordinator of the programme, Dr Sahib Gul, who was removed from the post and asked to report to director-general health office.

“Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, KP project director HIV/Aids Programme, has been asked to look after the MNCH in addition to his own duty till further order,” a senior official told Dawn.

Probe likely to be completed within fortnight

He said that Dr Sahib Gul was allegedly demanding bribes from his staffers for regularisation of their service and some of them gave him the amount while the others were reluctant to do so and lodged complaints with the health secretariat.

Officials said that about 70 per cent of the staffers paid a bribes amounting to more than Rs10 million to get their service regularised while the rest didn’t pay the money.

They said that government had already passed a law to regularise the MNCH employees by virtue of which 312 workers were regularised a few days ago while the cases of about 400 others were delayed due to non-provision of documents in time.

However, they were entitled to regularisation, they said.

Quoting the complaints, the officials said that the coordinator demanded Rs120,000 from woman medical officers, Rs60,000 from account assistant, lady health visitors and computer operators and Rs20,000 from Class-IV employees and drivers per person for making their jobs permanent. However, the allegations would be probed, they said.

The officials said that not only the staffers submitted written complaints to the health secretariat but also posted the same on social media. Majority of the complaints were about misuse of authority by the coordinator and requests by the staffers to higher authorities to intervene and take action, they said.

The officials said that the programme was launched in 2006 to provide health services to pregnant women, newborns and children under five years. “DG health is likely to complete the inquiry report within a fortnight,” they added.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018