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November 6, 2019

Patients suffer as strike of health workers enters 39th day


November 6, 2019

PESHAWAR: Patients continued to suffer as the strike of health workers, including doctors, paramedics, nursing staff and class-IV employees, entered 39th day on Tuesday.

The protesting health workers as usual kept all services suspended in the state-run hospitals of the province. Also, dozens of health workers on the call of Grand Health Alliance (GHA) took out a protest rally from Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and blocked the University Road for over an hour.

The health workers first gathered at the KTH and chanted anti-government slogans, particularly against Dr Nausherwan Burki. They marched towards the Board Chowk and marched on the University Road. The protesting health workers were joined by workers of other political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

PML-N local leader, Arbab Khizer Hayat and a self-proclaimed president of Pakistan Medical Assassination (PMA), Dr Hussain Ahmad Haroon were conspicuous by presence. Both were in the first row of the protesting health workers and chanted slogans against the government. They flayed the government for causing hardships to the patients by refusing to accept the medics demands.

The district administration had deployed police but they didn’t use force to stop the protesting health workers from blocking the main road. The road blockade caused traffic mess. It was believed that Dr Nausherwan Burki was in Peshawar and he would hold a meeting with representatives of the protesting health workers.

According to Dr Alamgir Yousafzai, they had held a number of meetings in recent weeks after they launched the strike. He said they felt during all their meetings that most of the officials were powerless to make decisions.

Most of the officials claimed that Dr Nausherwan Burki was the right man to hold result oriented negotiations with the protesting health workers. Meanwhile, the strike of the health workers continued strike on 39th day.

The doctors, paramedics, nursing staff and non-technical employees class-IV workers have been on strike since September 27. They have paralysed health services in the public sector hospitals of the province. The health workers under the banner of the GHA are protesting against the passage of the Regional Health Authority (RHA) and District Health Authority (DHA) from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

The GHA is an umbrella organisation of all the associations of doctors, paramedics, nursing staff and class-IV workers of the public sector hospitals. They started the protest on September 25 from KTH and then launched province-wide strike from 27th of the month when the police used baton charge and teargas shells to disperse the protesting health workers at the LRH.

Some of the health workers, including doctors and paramedics, were injured while others were taken into custody and sent to the jail in Mardan.

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