Three health officers found to be working with WHO against rules

Updated 09 Aug 2020

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The health department said service rules didn’t allow government employees to work for private consultancies. — AFP/File
The health department said service rules didn’t allow government employees to work for private consultancies. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The health department has directed its officers to produce affidavit declaring they don’t work with international donor organisations besides own jobs.

It said service rules didn’t allow government employees to work for private consultancies, so punitive action would be taken against violators of those rules over misconduct.

The development comes as the department finds three doctors of the directorate general (health services) to be illegally working with the World Health Organisation as consultants.

They include additional DG (health services) Dr Shaheen Afridi, Dr Bilal Bahrawar and Dr Syed Irfan Ali Shah.

DG (health service) Dr Niaz Mohammad told Dawn that the health secretary had asked him to hold an inquiry against three officers and produce a detailed report within a week.

He said the Peshawar High Court had ordered inquiry into the matter. Dr Niaz also said all officers of the health department had been warned against taking up consultancies with private organisations as that had been prohibited by service rules.

Dept warns employees of action over private consultancies

He said all officers would have to produce affidavit showing that they don’t work for donor organisations besides own jobs.

The health secretary issued a notification saying the services of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System programme manager Dr Bilal Bahrawar (BPS-19) were repatriated to the DGHS, while Dr Syed Irfan Ali Shah (BPS-17) was given the additional charge of that office through an order issued on May 15, 2020.

However, Dr Bilal challenged the notification in the Peshawar High Court and secured a stay order against his repatriation on June 24, 2020 subject to the furnishing of an affidavit declaring that he is not performing any service in any other foreign-funded project in any NGO or INGO.

The documents revealed that not only Dr Bilal Bahrawar had been working with the WHO but Dr Iran Ali Shah and Dr Shaheen Afridi, too, took up the WHO consultancies.

“After the examination of the case, it is very clear that all the three [officers] are guilty of misconduct, so disciplinary proceedings need to be initiated against them and others, who are drawing salary from the government exchequer but are working with NGOs/INGOs at the same time,” it said.

The secretary also ordered the production of the complete details of all those doctors and officers working for foreign-funded programes without getting proper NOC from the health department and drawing salary both from INGOs and the government.

He asked the DG (health services) to hold a proper inquiry against the three doctors and produce a report accordingly.

The documents showed that Dr Shaheen and Dr Irfan Ali Shah had signed contracts with the WHO on Sept 23 and Sept 11, 2019, respectively though rules don’t allow government employees to work for private consultancies.

They’re paid Rs1.66m each. Both were been found guilty of the same misconduct in 2016 as well.

Dr Bilal Bahrawar also worked with the WHO. However, he obtained NOC from the health department for the purpose.

The DG (health) said the inquiry report would make everything clear on the matter.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020