RAWALPINDI: As the Young Doctors Association (YDA) is set to observe a strike over the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Reforms Act 2018 today (Saturday), the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) has devised a strategy to counter the move.

The YDA Rawalpindi chapter will stage a protest in the hospitals on the call of the Grand Health Alliance (GHA). On the other hand, RMU has decided to depute extra staff in the outpatient departments and wards.

YDA Benazir Bhutto Hospital president Dr Rana Azeem told Dawn that a meeting of all doctors and paramedical staff of the three hospitals was held at the BBH in which it was decided to hold the protest.

“All professors, senior registrars and doctors will participate in the protest for the first time and will observe a strike,” he claimed, adding it would be a show of strength against the government.

He said the government should repeal the MTI Act otherwise a protest rally would also be taken in Islamabad.

He said professors and senior staff had agreed with the stance of the young doctors and decided to support them over the MTI issue as it was aimed at privatisation of government hospitals.

On the other hand, RMU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Umer said the RMU had prepared a plan to provide treatment to patients in case of a strike.

“More than 60 medical officers and senior registrars will be available in the OPDs.”

Prof Umer said dengue and emergency wards were working as per routine.

He said professors and senior doctors were not supporting any strike in the hospitals and they would not be part of the protest. He said under the service act, senior professors cannot participate in any protest organised by students or young doctors.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019