PESHAWAR: The Insaf Doctors Forum, the doctors wing of the ruling PTI, has been playing significant role in shaping up health policy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to sources.
Different political parties have their wings in the medical community but IDF has a distinction among them as the PTI leaders take their proposals seriously. The latest example of the influence of IDF on the PTI leadership is the transfer of provincial health secretary. The secretary was not in the good books of IDF.
The secretary, whose performance was appreciated by PTI chairman Imran Khan, was removed on the behest of IDF. The leaders of IDF conveyed to PTI leadership, under the misconception, that he was opposed to the health reforms in the province.
IDF was formed in 2011-12. It had a few members but the group by leaps and bounds after PTI won the 2013 election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Now it has about 1,000 members and has representation in the central executive committee of PTI.
Health secretary removed at behest of IDF
The previous provincial government of PTI in the province facilitated IDF members to get jobs. “The IDF members were allowed house jobs in the hospitals despite the fact that they were entitled for it,” said sources.
The PTI leadership, on its part, is playing vital role in developing IDF into a strong body. The proposals of the IDF members are considered seriously by those people, who formulate health policy in the province.
Two days ago, Prof Nausherwan Burki, who has been tasked by Prime Minister Imran Khan to revamp the health system, also held a meeting with IDF members in Islamabad to discuss some important issues with them.
Prof Burki has been spearheading the health reforms process in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2013.
In mid-80s, the activists of People’s Students Federation (PSF), a student wing of Pakistan people’s Party (PPP), formed Peoples’ Doctors Forum (PDF). Pakhtun Students Federation of Awami National Party established Malgary Doctoran (MD) and Islamic Jamiat Talba of Jamaat-i-Islami set up Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) to make their presence felt in the health sector.
PDF, MD and PIMA also agreed to set up Pakistan Doctors Association (PDA) and elections were held at provincial and unit level to make efforts for resolution of the problems faced by medics.
Dr Mohammad Kamal (late) of PDF and Dr Mian Iftikhar Hussain played important role in recognising PDA as a force to be taken seriously by the respective governments.
However, later PDF started awarding priced positions to its activists regardless of their qualification and experience while MD died its natural death owing to the ANP’s lukewarm attitude towards it. Despite remaining in government twice in the province, ANP didn’t take care of the doctors, who were associated with the party for years, first as students and then as professional doctors.
Malgary Doctoran suffered a severe setback when ANP failed to implement a health policy prepared by Dr Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who has been associated with the party since his student life.
Before the 2008 general elections, Dr Iftikhar Hussain presented a 31-page health policy to ANP leadership to be enforced in case the party wins the polls.
ANP central chief Asfandyar Wali Khan had asked MD to chalk out a health policy in 2006 but the party consigned the document to dustbin as it awarded health department to PPP, its coalition partner in the provincial government after 2008 elections.
Still many activists of MD have been working on high clinical positions but the party has never accorded them due attention. On contrary, IDF is pampered by PTI leadership. Imran Khan is its chairman and it is becoming a serious threat to other organisations of doctors.
IDF, claiming to be campaigning for promotion of health education and reforms, is also eager to see its members at the helm of affairs in the health department.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018