PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded 29 deaths and 1,245 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday as the doctors working in coronavirus rapid response teams threatened to go on strike for regularisation of service.
The pandemic claimed 13 lives in Peshawar, eight in Mardan eight, five in Swat, and one each in Swabi, Buner and Abbottabad.
Peshawar and Mardan districts recorded 483 and 207 cases of coronavirus respectively, according to a report issued by health department. It said that the virus was widespread in the entire province. As the mortalities and cases are growing, the doctors working in Covid-19 rapid response teams also collect swabs from suspected patients.
“In all districts, doctors are working on contractual basis. They have more than one-year experience. Many of them have postgraduate degrees and are qualified to work in any hospital. We demand regularisation of our services so we can fully concentrate on Covid-19 patients,” said Dr Javed Sattar, the president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Contract Doctors Association.
He said that all their colleagues were involved in diagnosis and management of Covid-19 patients and they did not want to hamper patient care at that critical juncture. He added that they expected that the government would acknowledge their services in saving lives of people and would order regularisation of their job.
“A summary is likely to be approved for extension of the contract but our members aren’t ready to give up struggle for regular jobs because they have more than the desired qualification,” said Dr Javed. He added that one-third of the members of Covid-19 rapid response teams were working on contractual posts.
KP records 29 more deaths due to coronavirus
Health officials said that the doctors were appointed on contract basis and taking into account their services during Covid-19, their services were being extended. They said that government required doctors and other staff to step up efforts against the virus that was advancing alarmingly.
For over one year, Provincial Doctors Association, Paramedical Association and Young Doctors Associations have not gone on strike due to Covid-19 for which they have been appreciated by the government. However, senior physicians said that more benefits should be given to the experienced professionals to retain their services to handle the pandemic effectively.
A senior physician at a medical teaching institution said that Covid-19 helped the government as healthcare providers stayed away from going on strikes due to the pandemic.
PDA chairman Dr Zubair Zahir said they requested the government to award compensation, approved by the cabinet in April last year, to the families of those medics, who laid their lives against Covid-19.
He said that 91 health workers including 57 doctors had passed away in the province due to coronavirus, which they contracted from patients at the hospitals. He added that government should immediately pay Rs7 million to heirs of the deceased medics.
“Giving compensation will also encourage the healthcare providers involved in investigating and managing of Covid-19 patients during third wave of the infection, which is more virulent than the first two waves,” said Dr Zubair. He added that the amount was approved by the finance department.
The province has lost 2,761 persons and has detected virus among 102,290 others while 86,531 of them have recovered. During the last 24 hours, 1,308 more patients recovered, said the health department report.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2021