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May 22, 2016

PPHI closure protested


May 22, 2016

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) employees staged protest to press the government to revisit its decision about the closure of the programme as it would render nearly 2,000 people jobless.

The employees gathered outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in scorching heat and chanted slogans.

However, those at the helm of affairs remained unaware of their protest as no one from the provincial assembly, neither from the treasury nor the opposition benches, could bother to come out and express sympathies with the protesters.

The protesting employees announced to launch a protest campaign from Monday, which they declared would continue till acceptance of their demands. They criticised recent decision of the provincial health department to wind up the scheme.

They said the decision would snatch jobs from about 2,000 employees and adversely affect the healthcare delivery system at the grassroots level.

The health department recently issued a notification to all the deputy commissioners of 17 districts where the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative is operating, asking them to wind up the scheme and take over the Basic Health Units from June 30.

The administrations of the districts concerned were asked to take care of financial matters and ensuring the availability of assets and goods.

“But not a single word was there in the two-page notification about the employees who would lose their jobs as a result of the decision,” said one of the affected employees.

The programme was launched in the province in 2007 when Inayatullah Khan, the incumbent senior minister, was holding the portfolio of health then.

The Basic Health Units in the province had been handed over to the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative through the Sarhad Rural Support Programme.

During nearly 10 years of operation, the People’s
Primary Healthcare Initiative made many asic Health
Units functional in various districts and also ensured availability of doctors and paramedical staff and medicines there.

The employees said that the provincial health department was not happy with the programme as their monopoly had been ended.

The protesting employees demanded Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and other authorities to take notice of the issue and save their jobs as well as the programme.

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