RAWALPINDI: District administration has cancelled weekly off of all the dengue surveillance workers for next two months but the women workers resisted the directives and staged a protest in District Health Authority offices on Saturday.

After rain, the dengue experts warned the district administration to speed up work for dengue surveillance in all the union councils as dengue larvae found in 70 union councils of Rawalpindi district.

They also predicted the number of patients would increase in coming days. Taking action on the suggestions of dengue experts, Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq cancelled the weekly off and asked the district health authority to monitor the anti-dengue campaign.

There are 3,250 dengue surveillance workers—1,250 on contract basis while approximately 2,000 workers on daily wages-- in all union councils to check dengue larvae door-to-door.

However, the women workers resisted the decision of the administration and staged a protest demonstration and sit-in in front of District Health Authority offices at Khyaban-i-Sir Syed.

The workers carried placards inscribed with their demand to restore the weekly off. They were chanting slogans against the DHA and district administration officials.

Speaking on the occasion, the leaders of the workers said that senior officials availed their Sunday’s holidays and took rest at their homes while workers had been asked to come and go to field work.

They said that they did not accept this as they were already facing many problems in the union councils.

They said that they work six days a week honestly, yet one day off is their legal right. They demanded

Sardar Usman Bazdar and other responsible persons to take notice of this violation.

When contacted, District Health Authority (DHA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Suhail Ahmed told Dawn that there was a small group of people who created nuisance otherwise, majority of the workers accepted to work seven days a week.

He said they were not forced to work on Sundays throughout the year but only for two months.

“We spotted more than 500 places where dengue larvae found. It is necessary to check all the houses, commercial areas and junk yards to eliminate the larvae to avoid spread of dengue virus,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq started the inspection of the anti-dengue campaign and checked the work of workers in Shah Khalid Colony and other areas.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2020