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July 8, 2020

DUHS pays its staff half of their salaries as ‘funds stop coming from Sindh govt’

Karachi

July 8, 2020

When Professor Khan (named changed), a member of medical faculty at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and a senior doctor treating COVID-19 patients at varsity’s hospital, checked his bank account online for the salary on Tuesday, he was astonished to learn that only half of his salary had been credited to his account by his employers and that too after a delay of seven days.

“Today when I looked at my bank statement online, I said to myself, ‘this can’t be right’. How could I get half of the salary? I made a few calls to my colleagues and they all said they had been paid half of their regular salaries. This has infuriated everybody as we are on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight, and instead of getting a bonus or monetary appreciation, they deducted half of our salaries,” Prof Khan said while talking to The News on Tuesday.

Prof Khan is not alone whose salary has been deducted by the DUHS administration; most of the doctors, faculty members, nurses, paramedics and even the administrative staff have been deprived of half of their monthly remuneration by the varsity’s finance department citing stoppage of funds by the Sindh government.

Many doctors serving at the COVID-19 wards at the Ojha hospital of the DUHS and the Civil Hospital Karachi as well as at various departments of the varsity confirmed that they had not been paid 50 per cent of their salaries, while nurses, paramedics and technicians also complained of deductions in their monthly salaries.

Physicians and doctors serving at the COVID-19 treatment wards at the Ojha campus and the Civil Hospital Karachi said they had been working day and night for the treatment of patients infected with the coronavirus for the last four months while they had also risked their lives for the people. However, they said, instead of recognising their services, their salaries had been cut by 50 per cent, which was a shameful act.

Many doctors claimed that due to COVID-19, their private practices had stopped, while surgeons said they were unable to perform surgical procedures privately. As a result, they said, these days, they were totally dependent on their salaries from the DUHS.

“But even the Dow administration has deducted the salaries of its staff, which is unbearable for many employees of the varsity,” said Prof Khan. When this issue was reported by the electronic media on Tuesday, hundreds of people who learnt about the deductions of salaries of DUHS staff bitterly criticised the Sindh government on social media platforms, especially on Twitter and Facebook, saying that instead of compensating the medical staff for their services, deducting salaries of the medical professionals was inhuman and the provincial government should immediately pay the salary dues to the DUHS staffers.

When approached, Vice Chancellor DUHS Prof Saeed Quraishy conceded that 50 per cent of the salaries had been paid to the staff. He complained that some senior administrative officials had not been paid even a single penny as the university was facing a serious financial crisis.

“What can we do when don’t receive funds from the provincial government. We have paid half of the salaries to most of our staff while some of the senior administrative officials have been told to wait until the varsity’s financial situation is improved”, Prof. Quraishy added.

A spokesman for Sindh government and Sindh Advisor Law and Environment Barrister Murtaza Wahab while acknowledging the deduction in the salaries of DUHS staff, termed it a “technical issue” and said the issue has been sorted out and now entire salaries of DUHS staff would be paid.

“This was due to a technical issue. It has been sorted now, entire salaries will be paid by #SindhGovt and necessary instructions have been issued. Thank u for highlighting this,” provincial law adviser Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet on Tuesday night.