KARACHI- An urgent press conference was recently held at National Institute of Child Health (NICH), where the Joint Nurses Action Committee (JNAC) announced a province-wide protest demonstration, until the concerned authorities met their due demands.
The Joint Nurses Action Committee, comprising of Young Nurses Association (YNA) Sindh, Provincial Nurses Association (PNA) and Private School Nursing Association (PSNA), together have boycotted their duties, in hopes of acquiring their rights.
The press conference was led by Afshan Nazli, Ghulam Dastgir, Abdul Wahid, Syed Shahid, James Watts and other members of JNAC.
They presented their demands and requested the Chief Minister of Sindh and Sindh’s Health Department, to accept and act on them immediately; till then the protest would continue, across the province of Sindh.
The Nurses’ Associations demanded the release of health professional allowance, a 4-tier formula for nurses, an increase in their stipend, allowance of DDO power in nursing schools, establishment of a Nursing University and new job placements to fill the vacant posts. They also enquired about the pending decision of Pakistan Nurses Council and Ombudsman Sindh, regarding conducting a special exam, to save the future of 400 nursing students.
They also demanded that, the Additional Secretary Technical in the Health Department should be appointed from the Nursing cadre; and the announcement of Sindh Public Service Commission regarding positions of Controller and Deputy Controller should be followed in letter and spirit.
Nurses are considered the backbone of our health system, but despite their valuable contribution to the system, they have continuously been exploited by the concerned authorities of Sindh Health Department.
It was revealed that all the other Provincial Governments have upgraded the nursing profession and have been providing them with the necessary requirements.
It was also discussed that, in KPK, the CM has approved a 5-tier formula for nurses. Whereas, in Punjab, the implementation on 4-tier formula is at its last stage. Even in Balochistan, the recommendations are ready, but unfortunately, Sindh’s Health Department has not taken any practical step to address the issues faced by the committee of nurses.
Some of the leaders from JNAC stated that it has been disheartening to share the state of nurses of Sindh, who get appointed at BPS- Grade 16, and are forced to retire, without any promotions.
It was also discussed that after the protest of 2017, a committee was formed by Sindh Health Department to work on recommendations in this regard, but none of it materialized.
The strike that started on October 23rd, in Karachi, greatly affected the services of public hospitals, as around 1,000 nurses from across the province of Sindh joined the protest, while the others simply chose to not show up to the health facilities.
At the city’s tertiary care centers like, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Civil Hospital Karachi, National Institute of Child Health, and various other public hospitals, dozens of operations have been delayed due to the protest demonstrations.
Meanwhile, nurses opted to fulfill their duties by serving the ICUs and Emergency wards of the hospitals.