PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to award Shuhada Package to all the healthcare providers, who died of Covid-19 in the public sector hospitals.

“Each doctor, nurse, paramedic and others will get Rs7 million as one-time Shuhada Package. A committee has been constituted to consider such cases,” Health Secretary Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah told Dawn.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will become the first province to award compensation package to the frontline health professionals, who passed away due to Covid-19 while managing patients at the hospitals.

Provincial Doctors Association chairman Dr Zubair Zahir said that they demanded of the government to award complete Shuhada Package to healthcare providers on the pattern of army besides conferring upon them national awards.

Family of a health professional falling victim to Covid-19 will get Rs7m

“Apart from cash money, we want the government to allot the families of slain workers 10-marla plot, continue paying their salaries till 60 years of retirement, quota for their children in medical and dental colleges and job security to their wards,” he said.

Dr Zubair said that they sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and government should acknowledge their services by giving them complete package.

Pakistan Medical Association (Centre) secretary Dr Qaisar Sajjad said that all the provincial governments had announced packages for the heath workers, who laid their lives in the line of duty but were yet to compensate the families of such medics.

“Despite our continuous demands, there is no progress by the provincial governments,” he said. He added that all the provincial governments should help the families of the health professionals, who fought bravely and reduced the mortality and cases of Covid-19.

“The government is announcing package for other non-medical organisations for Covid-19 duty but it is ignoring the real workers, who managed and treated patients at the cost of their own lives. We demand that the children of the slain health workers should be supported in education and jobs and protection for future,” he said.

According to authenticated list, 99 doctors and 25 paramedics and nurses had died of Covid-19 in Pakistan and they deserved to be compensated, he said.

However, a report prepared by Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination said that a total of 73 healthcare providers had died of Covid-19 in Pakistan including 28 in Sindh, 19 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 in Punjab, seven in Balochistan, five in Islamabad, three in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

It said that a total of 9,298 health workers had been infected with the virus. They included 3,890 doctors, 1,676 paramedics and 732 nurses. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 951 doctors, 788 paramedics and other staffers and 329 nurses contracted the infection, said the report.

Dr Rizwan Kundi, president of Young Doctors Association KP, said that as far as Covid-19 pandemic was concerned, each and every worker whether working in government sector or private sector rendered services for the nation and they should be compensated.

“Each sector deserves equal acknowledgement by government because both were risking their lives for a greater cause and we will demand Shuhada Package for all across the board without any discrimination,” he said.

Secretary Imtiaz Hussain Shah said that nothing was in the pipeline for infected workers at the moment due to financial crunch but they were working on it. “The policy is for government servants only,” he added.

Syed Roidar Shah, president of Provincial Paramedical Association, lauded the government but demanded a complete package for the deceased health workers to support their families. “Six paramedics have embraced martyrdom,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2020