Medics in KP threaten to suspend Covid services over violence

Published May 4, 2021
Health minister Taimur Jhagra meets representatives from the Hayatabad Medical Complex. - Photo courtesy Twitter
Health minister Taimur Jhagra meets representatives from the Hayatabad Medical Complex. - Photo courtesy Twitter

PESHAWAR: Resenting the non-implementation of the last year’s legislation for the prevention of violence against health workers, the Provincial Doctors Association has warned that the medics will suspend the management of coronavirus patients in hospitals if the government doesn’t act against MPAs Nighat Orakzai and Shafiq Afridi for ransacking the Hayatabad Medical Complex and torturing staff members.

The PDA leaders told Dawn that health professionals would stop offering coronavirus-related services to patients in hospitals as a last resort if perpetrators of the Friday violence at the HMC weren’t booked and dealt with strictly.

The doctors have begun the boycott of duties at the HMC and in government hospitals of Hazara division and Khyber tribal district over violence against health workers by lawmakers.

They demanded strict action against MPAs Nighat Orakzai and Shafiq Afridi for torturing HMC doctors and MNA Iqbal Afridi for holding the medical superintendent hostage in the Bara tehsil headquarters hospital along with a mob.

Demand strict action against lawmakers, enforcement of law for own protection at work

The protesters demanded implementation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Service Providers and Facilities (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, which prescribes punishment, including heavy fine and jail terms, for the perpetrators of violence in hospitals.

The health department, Khyber Medical University, Jinnah Sindh Medical University and ICRC had launched a study three years ago to ascertain the level of violence suffered by health workers in the public sector facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces.

The study revealed that over 50 per cent doctors, nurses and paramedics suffered from mental issues and didn’t have good physical growth and that they strived for the care of serious patients but remained worried about their lives at the same time.

The doctors said over 20 attacks against health workers were recorded in the current year.

A team under special secretary (health) Dr Syed Farooq Jameel came up with a draft law, which was passed by the assembly in Dec 2020 after the introduction of many amendments to tighten the safety of healthcare providers at work for the sake of more effective and focused care of patients.

A senior health official said it was a comprehensive law, whose implementation would reinforce the spirit of health workers, who were currently involved in the management of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

The PDA leaders told Dawn that implementing that law was important in the third wave of coronavirus during which more health workers had died compared with the first two waves.

They said the registration of FIRs against the people, who attacked hospitals and their staff members, should be brought to justice without delay.

According to Section 3 of the law, any act of violence against healthcare service providers or damage to property in a healthcare service institution is punishable and that anyone, who commits any act in contravention of it, will be punished with imprisonment of three years along with fine up to Rs50,000.

According to the law’s sub-section 1, the offender shall be liable to pay to the healthcare service institution a compensation of twice the amount of purchase price of medical equipment damaged and the loss caused to the property as may be determined by the court trying the offence.

“If the offender does not pay the compensation under sub-section (2), the said sum shall be recovered as if it is an arrear of land revenue due from him. While any offence committed under Section 3 shall be cognizable and non-bailable.”

The sub-section added that the provisions of the law would be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. It also made it binding on healthcare institutions to give complete information of medical treatment to patients.

“It shall be the responsibility of each healthcare service institution to furnish, in writing, complete information about medical treatment provided by such healthcare service institutions, to the patients, who seek treatment in the said institutions or to their designated relatives,” it said.

31 COVID DEATHS: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded 31 more deaths from coronavirus on Monday.

According to a health department report, 12 Covid-19 patients died in Peshawar, 11 in Mardan, two in Bannu, and one each in Swat, Nowshera, Shangla, Dir Upper, Bajaur and Dera Ismail Khan.

It said 526 more cases and 624 recoveries were reported in the province.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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