Healthcare workers on Monday closed vaccination centers and outpatient departments of the general public health facilities within the federal capital in protest against nonpayment of health risk allowance.
When contacted, Grand Health Alliance Chairman Dr. Asfandyar Khan confirmed to Dawn that the workers had decided to stay the vaccination centers closed till the resolution of the allowance issue.
“Employees also are demanding that the Secretary NHS Amer Ashraf Khuwaja should be removed as funds for the allowance lapsed due to him,” he said.
Dr. Asfandyar said overall Rs900 million, including Rs480 million allocated for the allowance, lapsed as the Ministry of NHS did not utilize them.
Funds are allocated, as per the demand of the ministry within the budget, but the amount lapses if not utilized (by the ministry) till the end of the fiscal year.
While replying to an issue, Dr. Khan said though Dr. Nausheen Hamid contacted them and tried to convince them to start out working employees weren’t able to hear her as she did not address the difficulty despite promising several times.
He said the allowance had to tend to doctors, nurses, paramedics, laboratory attendants, and field staff for undertaking multi-faceted activities including surveillance of areas for Covid but the health secretary was trying to offer the allowance to only those that served within the Covid wards.
“Fact is that each one department receives suspected Covid patients, and later variety of them clothed to be positive,” he said.
Last month National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had taken notice of the difficulty and gave a deadline to the health secretary to deal with it.
Later, the ministry sent letters to the hospitals stating that the list of these doctors and staff, who served in corona wards, be sent to the ministry which kept the difficulty still unresolved.
On Monday, vaccination centers remained closed at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Polyclinic, and other hospitals.