LARKANA/MIRPURKHAS: Lady health workers (LHWs) on Monday boycotted the just launched anti-polio vaccination campaign, that was to run till Jan 20, in several districts of Sindh.
The LHWs boycott was part of ongoing protest by Grand Health Alliance (GHA), under which two-hour token strike is being observed at all government hospitals to press the government to accept its demands.
Focal person Dr Amanullah Abro at Larkana confirmed to Dawn the boycott by LHWs. “We have to achieve the target of administering anti-polio drops to 398,310 children in the district for which 1,231 teams have been constituted to meet the target,” he said.
He said that in order to achieve the target in time and in the absence of vaccinators, services of NGOs field force had been hired. Due to the boycott only 40 per cent targeted population was administered the anti-polio drops, he admitted.
Meanwhile, all organisations which were components of GHA kept away from OPD duties at the Chandka Medical College Hospital, CMC Children Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital for Women and assembled outside the central OPD to register their anger over delay in issuance of notification on the accepted demands.
Grand Health Alliance wants notification of ‘accepted’ demands issued immediately
The protesters led by Shahi Khan Jagirani, Ms Reshman Langah and Ghulam Zehra Solangi marched on main roads before converging on the local press club.
The leaders lamented that a committee of ministers comprising Sharjeel Memon, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah and officers of finance and health departments had held talks with the GHA leaders two months ago and assured alliance leaders that the notification on their demands would be issued but this did not happen.
“We are demanding risk allowance, service structure, utility allowances and other facilities. The government had verbally accepted the demands but it is not issuing the notification. It has put the accepted demands on the backburner. The delay is generating unrest,” they said.
They appealed to Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and the authorities concerned to order issuance of the notification as per the promise.
They announced holding rallies in Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Sukkur and Larkana divisions until the notification was issued.
The patients, who had traveled from remote areas to the CMCH and other health facilities, were greatly inconvenienced by the boycott.
In Mirpurkhas district also, lady health workers boycotted the anti-polio campaign on Monday on GHA’s call.
The boycott affected the drive that is aimed at administering anti-polio drops to 340,000 children under five years of age in the district.
Meanwhile, a large number of LHWs, nurses, paramedical staff and doctors took out a procession from railway station roundabout to local press club.
The protesters’ leaders condemned the government for its failure to accept their genuine demands for promotions, service structure, time-scale and health risk allowance.
They warned that the boycott would continue till the acceptance of their demands and urged the Sindh government to issue the notification immediately in the larger interest of the poor employees.
The LHWs and nurses also boycotted the campaign in Digri, Tando Jan Muhammad and Jhuddo towns and held demonstrations in their respective areas of operation.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2023