PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa All Employees Coordination Council said that it would join the ongoing protest of Grand Health Alliance if government didn’t accept all their demands by Thursday.

However, officials said that they were determined to bring reforms in health sector to benefit the poor people, who banked on the public sector hospitals for their investigations and treatment, and weren’t bothered about the protest of doctors.

Under the banner of Grand Health Alliance (GHA), doctors, paramedics, nurses and allied employees of the public sector hospitals, have been protesting for the last 13 days against Regional and District Health Authorities Act, 2019 and non-implementation of the inquiries report conducted on the directives of Supreme Court into irregularities in medical teaching institutions.

They also demand removal of Health Minister Hisham Inamullah Khan and the chairman of Prime Minister’s Task Force on Health, Prof Nausherwan Barki.

On Tuesday, All Employees Coordination Council Aslam Khan at a press conference warned the government to refrain from touching the civil servant laws and resolve all the issues faced by the employees, otherwise the council would join the protest of alliance scheduled for Thursday at Lady Reading Hospital.

Flanked by GHA’s Dr Amir Taj and others, he demanded release of the detained health professionals, repeal of RDHA and resolution of other issues of health workers.

“We will go on strike in all departments if the government fails to take our demands seriously,” he added.

Meanwhile, strike is in progress throughout the province and services of patients with common ailments remain suspended whereas the emergency departments receive more patients than the normal days.

However, the government seems adamant to enforce RDHA, the main issue of the protest, in near future. To avoid more protests, the government is likely to enforce the law in one or two districts, prior to its replication to the entire province.

“This is up to the ministry. I think they will choose a few districts first,” Prof Nausherwan Barki, architect of the new law, told Dawn. He said that the new legislation was meant to improve health services for the sake of patients visiting public sector hospitals.

Special Secretary Health Dr Syed Farooq Jamil told Dawn that the department had initiated disciplinary action against the protesting employees to end the strike and resume services.

“We have issued notices to 40 employees so far and action against more will be taken,” he said.

He said that the government was trying its level best to improve the standard of health services. He added that they held doctors, nurses, paramedics and other employees in high esteem and enhanced their salaries and other benefits to enable them to serve the people with dedication.

Dr Sajjad Yousafzai, a representative of the alliance, said that they would continue their protest and would not allow the enforcement of the law, meant to privatise the hospitals and convert the regular jobs of the employees into contractual ones. “Our detained colleagues are being mistreated in Mardan jail but their morale is high. We will fight till achieving the objectives of the ongoing strike,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019