Tomorrow, your TV screens and social media pages will be flashing news about doctors protesting and going on strike. They will gaslight the situation. They will defame us and discredit our work. This is how the story stands before it gets too late to hear it amidst the wails of pseudo-journalism:
The junior doctors of Civil Hospital Karachi have given an official notice of going on strike from tomorrow. We have been working unpaid since April 2019. That is five months of unpaid labor. 5 months of working in a government hospital most of you would not even step in, so terrible are the conditions therein. 5 months of putting our own lives in literal danger by treating patients with highly infectious diseases with minimal resources. 5 months including weeks where we did all the work nurses were supposed to do. 5 months, where in the absence of nurses we had to take their place, in the absence of ward boys we took on their tasks and in the absence of patients’ families we became the support system.
The system is flawed. We have been given multiple deadlines as to when we will receive our pay but each time we go to follow up; the process is stagnant. That is the thing! Why must we follow up and beg for our salary? Why must WE run to the Sindh Secretariat and the Ministries to get our pay? It has been 5 months and we have been told that the process is nearing its end and that “You would definitely get paid by this week’s end.”
Honestly after hearing that for months we no longer believe in it. We care for our patients more than most people can imagine. We spend on them, on our wards, on our daily transport and food, and on 30 plus hour duties without getting a single penny. This is exploitation of our intellect and our energies. We refuse to place our trust in the system anymore. We will settle for nothing less than the money in our bank accounts!
Like I said, our patients mean more to us than our own selves. Why else would we have done this and more for 5 months?!
Therefore, all emergency and ICU services at Civil Hospital will continue as usual; senior doctors will remain in wards as usual; patient will remain uncompromised to the best of our efforts. All we ask is for support from the civil society.