Monday June 17, 2024

Health professionals in Multan block roads against privatization of hospitals

By Nadeem Shah
November 16, 2017

MULTAN, November:  Thousands of paramedics, doctors, teacher unions, lawyers, members of All Pakistan Clerks Association and civil society activists took rallies against proposed privatization of public hospitals in Multan and south Punjab cities to register protest on Thursday.

A large numbers of female polio and dengue workers also participated in protest rallies. Female workers warned of boycotting polio campaign starting from November 20. Female workers also observed sit in at chowk Nawan Sher.

Enraged paramedics and health workers in Multan stormed into public hospitals, expressing concern over privatisation of public hospitals. They were of the view that the government plans to deprive the people of cheap medical treatment facilities.

Only emergency wards in Multan district, Tehsil hospitals and rural health centers remained functional while general wards health professionals observed complete strike.

Patients visited laboratories at Multan Nishtar Hospital, Ch Pervez Elahi Institute of Cardiology, Children Complex, Mian Shahbaz Sharif hospital, Civil hospital and District Headquarters Hospital for medical tests.

"We will not allow privatization of public hospitals established with public money. The government is determined to privatize public hospitals instead of equipping them with facilities and removing lacunas", protesting paramedics said.

Talking to The News Punjab Paramedics Association senior vice chairman AD Kanwal said that hospital facilities were facing acute shortage of equipment across Punjab.

The public hospitals are forcefully accommodating two patients at one bed often due to shortage of resources. He said that participants included laboratory technicians, operation theatre technicians, dispensers and other staff.

He said the government provides free MRI test facility by incurring Rs 1500 on each patient currently. However, the government would have to pay Rs 4500 to contractor on each MRI.

Addressing a gathering at chowk Nawan Sher, Punjab Paramedics senior vice chairman AD Kanwal demanded legislation of professional allowances, risk allowances and restructuring of all staff from grade 1 to grade 16.

Criticizing health policies he said that health professionals are serving on a contractual basis or daily wages for the past five to 20 years. Their wages have not been increased for so many years,” he regretted.

Speaking on the occasion Iqbal Tair, Dr Azhar Malik, Dr Kashif, Dr Ghulam Murtaza, Kalim Surani and others appealed the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to look into the matter and order the regularisation of their services,” he asserted.

The protesters threatened to take their agitation from district to the provincial level and later to countrywide involving all the branches of paramedical associations if their demands were not met timely.