No end to suffering of sick in Sindh – 18 Nov 2022

Doctors and paramedics have been boycotting OPDs for more than 32 days

KARACHI:
Hospitals are meant to treat the sick humanity, but in Sindh they have been reduced to just buildings.

There are no doctors and no paramedics who could feel the pain of the sick and the miseries of their attendants.

*Sajjad, who hails from Thatta, has brought his elder brother to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), one of the major tertiary care hospitals of the province.

“There is no doctor who can listen to us,” he complained.

“They are on strike,” he added.

“Is the government also on strike,” he questioned.

Shahnawaz’s five-yearold nephew Gulfam fell from a staircase a few days ago and was rushed to the JPMC for treatment.

“He got head injuries and needs utmost care and better treatment but there is no doctor who could treat him,” he complained.

“We are from Abbottabad. Health professionals do not go on strike, leaving their patients unattended,” he said.

For last 32 days, all the OPDs in Sindh’s hospitals have been shut while patients admitted in different wards are not being looked after properly.

“Only emergency wards operate 24 hours,” confirmed Aijaz Kalari, leader of Grand Health Alliance (GHA).

“We will not go back to work until our demands are accepted.” The GHA demands continuation of a ‘health risk allowance’ which the provincial government had provided to doctors and their supporting staff during the Covide-19 pandemic.

Provincial Health Department employees of BPS-1 to 16 received Rs17,000 per month and BPS-17 and above, including doctors, received Rs35,000 per month as health risk allowance.

“Our demand is genuine,” Kalari said while sitting in a protest camp outside Karachi Press Club.

“Look at inflation,” he said.

“We are always at risk while saving others’ lives,” he added.

While replying to a question, Kalari, who represents about 100,000 Health Department employees, said: “We know that patients are suffering because of the strike, but it is the government’s responsibility to resolve the issue.” “No.

They will not be given the risk allowance,” said Qasim Siraj Soomro, parliamentary secretary for health.

“We cannot accept unjustified demands,” he added.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Soomro questioned: “Who is responsible for the deaths and miseries caused due to these strikes? Those hired for essential services do not go on strike.

It’s unethical, unprofessional, and inhuman.” While there seems to be no end to the GHA strike, rumour swirl that the Health Department has requested a paramilitary force for help with its trained paramedical staff and doctors.

But the department spokesperson denied the rumour.

“No, we have not approached any other institution,” he clarified.

“This is hard time for all of us. Most people in Sindh have been suffering because of the floods, but these doctors have no empathy,” Soomro said.

“We will take stern action against those employees who challenge the writ of the government,” he warned.

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