News, Regional News

Patients continue to suffer as doctors’ strike continues  

KARACHI: The doctors of Sindh continued their boycott of outpatient departments (OPDs) and operation theaters (OTs) into its second day in all government hospitals throughout the province demanding the authorities of the Sindh Health Department to issue a notification stating an increase in their salaries and allowance.

The strike call was jointly given by the Young Doctors Association, Sindh, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Sindh and Functional Doctors Forum.

The protesting doctors chanted slogans against the Sindh Health Minister, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Secretary Health, Saeed Awan, and other high-ups of Sindh government for not issuing a notification of the promised increase in salaries.

Thousands of patients were seen helplessly waiting for treatment at the OPDs of major Karachi hospitals including the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, National Institute of Child Health, Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, and other government-run hospitals.

Similar scenes were also witnessed in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Badin, Dadu, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar Tando Allahyar, Jamshoro, and other cities of the province where doctors completely boycotted the OPDs and OTs.

According to reliable sources at government hospitals, scores of planned surgeries were canceled again because of the ongoing doctors’ strike.

However, the Medical Superintendent, Civil Hospital, Karachi, Dr Sabir Memon said elective surgeries were being performed as per schedule at his hospital with the help of postgraduate trainee doctors.

Vice-President, Yong Doctors Association (YDA), Sindh, Dr Waris Ali Jakhrani, stated that the doctors understand the hardships of poor patients; therefore, they are performing emergency duties as per schedule.

He quoted that the demands of Sindh doctors include a raise in salaries on the pattern of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, protection at hospitals, and giving them timely promotions.

Dr Jakhrani said that the YDA would continue their boycott of OPDs and OTs all over the province until their demands were met. Up till now, no official from the health department has contacted the protesting doctors; therefore, the protest will continue.

A delegation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by MNA, Aftab Siddiqui, and MPA, Khurram Sher Zaman, paid a visit to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre to express their solidarity with the protesting doctors.

Talking to the media, MPA, Khurrum Sher Zaman stated that the indifferent and lazy attitude of the Sindh Health Department has compelled young doctors to go on strike. The Sindh government has destroyed the health and education sectors of the province, he added.

He demanded to the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, to immediately resolve the doctors’ issue at the earliest convenience. Furthermore, Zaman also ordered an audit of the accounts of three major Sindh government hospitals including JPMC, National Institute of Child Health and National Cardiovascular Diseases.

February 16, 2019

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