LAHORE: Over a dozen lady health workers (LHWs) fainted on Tuesday as the ongoing protest demonstration of hundreds of female employees of the health department outside the Punjab Assembly on entered the second day.
As per the details, several LHWs were shifted to nearby hospitals as they collapsed while staging their sit-in for the second consecutive day on Mall Road under the banner of the National Program Health Employees Association Punjab (NPHEAP) and their negotiations with the health department are still unsuccessful.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, NPHEAP President Rukhsana Anwar said that as many as 15 of her colleagues fainted on Tuesday and one of them was in critical condition at a hospital in Lahore.
“A lady health worker named Parveen fainted and she is still in coma after suffering from acute tension just because of the cruel policies of the health department,” said Rukhsana while adding that the government must resolve this issue immediately as most of the LHWs are over 40 years of age and suffering from diseases like blood pressure and diabetes and therefore cannot stay here for long.
“A deputy secretary of the health department visited the site of the protest on Tuesday offered us fake letters in order to call-off our sit-in but we will not budge from our demands that include service structure and up-gradation,” she added.
“The deputy secretary promised us to give just 25 thousand rupees but we have arrears of Rs150,000 pending with the health department since 2012,” Rukhsana said.
Earlier, the female employees of the health department remained adamant and spent the whole night on the road outside the Punjab Assembly. They had to face severe problems in using toilets as long queues of the LHWs were also seen outside the toilets of nearby mosques that are normally occupied by men.
Hazur Begam, a LHW from Bahawalpur told this scribe that she had not received her salary from the past four months and therefore had come out on the roads to demand her due rights. Although the number of protesters decreased on the second day, those who remained present were still passionate about the approval of their demands. The protesters claimed that more colleagues will be joining them today (Wednesday) and their family members were also planning to visit Lahore to express solidarity with them.
Meanwhile, several leaders of opposition parties in Punjab Assembly including Jamaate Islami Amir Senator Sirajul Haq and leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid also visited the protest camp of the LHWs to show their support.
However, Punjab Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health & Nutrition Program (IRMNCH) Minister Dr Mukhtar Hussain Syed said that the salaries of all the LHWs had been paid since the first of March and no salaries of any LHWs were pending with the health department.
He added that their salary was directly transferred to their accounts from the District Account Officer of their relevant districts.