LAHORE: Ignoring the coronavirus outbreak, young doctors on Tuesday announced a strike in public sector hospitals across the province.

They also threatened to shut down emergency wards of all teaching hospitals of Punjab over alleged shortage of kits and non-provision of other precautionary gear for medics.

Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid reacted to the announcement of the young doctors, declaring it immature and uncalled for.

“The young doctors must feel ashamed for what they are doing at a time when the nation is in a crisis state and the ailing humanity needs their help,” she said while talking to the media.

She said that the doctors should stick to their legitimate demands for provision of the required facilities, but the announcement to observe a strike on this occasion would not be wise at all.

On the other hand, Grand Health Alliance (GHA) Chairman Dr Salman Haseeb, Dr Ammar Yusuf and leaders of paramedics suggested the ailing people visit hospitals in life-threatening conditions only.

They said doctors would attend to only serious patients and strongly opposed treating others at outpatient departments of state-run hospitals. The health authorities only provided 1,200 kits to hospitals for frontline employees attending to suspected and confirmed patients of coronavirus, they added.

The young doctors suggested the government hire services of doctors from the Pakistan Army as an alternate arrangement during their strike at state-run hospitals of Punjab.

The GHA leaders said they would shut down services in emergency wards within the next 12 hours if their demands were not addressed.

Meanwhile, the Young Consultants Association (YCA) strongly rejected the decision of the YDA and other employees of observing a strike, saying the YCA would keep working at the hospitals keeping in view the prevailing situation.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2020