Karachi: Doctors, paramedical staff and nurses boycotted OPDs duties of government hospitals for two-hours across the Sindh province on the call given by Sindh Health Employees Action Committee against the privatization of healthcare centers across the province on Monday.
The two-hour boycott was observed at Civil Hospital Karachi, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, National Institute of Child Health, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, and Lyari General Hospital among others. The boycott started at 11:00am and continued till 1:00pm. Later, the doctors’ forum, paramedical staff organizations, and nurses associations reached Karachi Press Club to record their protest demonstration.
The protesters were led by Sindh Health Employees Action Committee members Dr Nisar Ali Shah, Dr Nawaz Mallah, Akhlaq Ahmed, Suleman Memon, Ismail Jaskani, Salamti Khokhar, Qayyum Marwat, Tariq Mangi, Haq Nawaz, Syed Shahid Iqbal, Yousif Khan, Samad, Ejaz Ali Kaleri, and Abdul Wahid.
The protesters were carrying placards and banners inscribed with different slogans like ‘Privatization of hospitals not acceptable’, ‘We want justice’ and ‘Approve service structure for employees’.
Addressing the protesters, Dr Nisar Ali Shah said privatization of public hospitals would disrupt health delivery system in the province. He said Sindh Doctors’ Organization could not accept the decision of government.
General Secretary, Provincial Nurses Association (PNA) Karachi Division, Abdul Wahid said privatizations of hospitals was not acceptable at any cost. He said complete strike would be observed throughout the province if authorities concerned did not withdraw the decision.
Central Executive Committee Member, Pakistan Nurses Federation, Qayyum Marwat has given 48 hour ultimatum to provincial government to approve the service structure of employees and to withdraw the statement of privatization of public healthcares, otherwise complete strike would be observed across the province.
Central leader of Sindh Paramedical Staff Welfare Association, Akhlaq Ahmed Khan appealed to the Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari to play their role in the withdrawal of directives issued by provincial government so as to end uncertainty prevalent among doctors, nursing community and paramedical staff.
However, the healthcare delivery system remains partially disturbed in all the major public hospitals of Karachi due to boycott of employees which has increased the miseries of visiting patients some of whom travel from remote areas of Sindh for treatment.