PESHAWAR: Covid-19 claimed 12 more lives and affected 974 new patients in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday as ad hoc doctors warned of boycotting coronavirus duty in hospitals to protest non-regularisation of their service.
The ad hoc doctors said that they would boycott all duties, except emergency services, if government didn’t accept their demand of making their jobs permanent within a fortnight.
A report of health department said that eight persons passed away in Peshawar, three in Mardan and one in Swat due to coronavirus. It said that the province death toll due to coronavirus reached 6,065, incidences 2, 04,084 and active patients swelled to 13,802. Of the infected patients, 184,217 have recovered.
Positivity rate for the virus was registered 33 per cent in Kohat, 30 per cent in Khyber, 26 per cent in Malakand and 22 per cent in Peshawar.
Dr Naveed Farooq Wazir, general secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ad hoc Medical Officers Association, said that more than 800 doctors had been working on contractual basis for the past two years. He said that their services should be regularised according to the promises made by the government with them.
He said that all the ad hoc doctors were performing Covid-19 related duties, including in the remote areas, to the best of their abilities and deserved to made permanent servants of the health department as they were about to get overage and wouldn’t find jobs.
A total of 1,122 doctors of the 1,500 applicants had been recruited on contract for six months in April 2020. After completion of the first six-month tenure, the contract of 965 doctors was extended and the rest were shown the door for poor performance.
Dr Naveed said that since their appointment, the ad hoc faced difficulties in getting their salaries in a timely manner. He said that they waited for four months to get their next extension despite good performance. He added that the doctors transmitted the virus to their families because they worked closely with Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
“We ask government regularise our jobs otherwise we will go on a strike according to schedule,” he said. He added that many contractual doctors possessed postgraduate degrees and were eligible to work in any hospital.
Dr Naveed said that doctors presented their demands to the health department time and again with the hope that their issues would be resolved without delay, but to no avail. He said that doctors were facing financial problems and job insecurity.
“We will boycott duties throughout the province if our demand remains unmet after two weeks,” said Dr Naveed.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2022