Doctors across the country have threatened to go on strike from June 11 if the government does not provide protective gear and allowances to doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff, who are fighting against the coronavirus pandemic on the frontline.
Addressing a press conference at the National Institute of Pediatrics in Karachi on Thursday, Young Doctors Association (YDA) General Secretary Sindh Dr Mehboob Noorani said that they have been repeatedly asking for protective gear and medical equipment but the Sindh government had been making false promises to them. He said that there were no ventilators in hospitals and doctors and health workers were working without protective gear because the government did not provide them with masks and other safety equipment.
Reiterating their demands, Dr Noorani said that a special isolation centre should be set up for paramedical staff, nurses should be given Health Professionals Allowance, and a proper service structure should be formed for doctors and nurses.
He said that doctors did not need salutes, but rather the families of those who were martyred in the line of duty should be given shuhuda packages.
Lamenting the condition of hospitals, he said that the provincial government has handed over powers to private hospitals and the ‘mafia’, adding that Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College (JPMC) Director was sent a private hospital for treatment recently.
Dr Noorani also highlighted the need for security of health professionals working in various hospitals across the country and demanded of the government to set up Rangers check posts in medical centres to ensure health workers’ safety.
Meanwhile, Sindh Young Nurses Association (SYNA) Chairperson Syed Shahid Iqbal said that nurses have been protesting for many years but their demands have not been met. He said that nurses were tortured by hooligans in Lyari but no inquiry was held into the incident.
He also said that the government should make 2,300 nurses permanent.
Talking about the coronavirus situation, he said that easing the lockdown would lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases as per the predictions of experts, and this would put the lives of paramedics and general public in great danger.