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Police thrash protesting Lady Health Workers

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Lady Health Workers (LHWs) serving in the public sector on Saturday held protest demonstrations in different cities against non-payment of salaries for the last four months.

In Lahore, the Lady Health Workers held demonstration in the Lawrence Gardens and staged a sit-in in front of the Governor’s House.

They were holding banners and placards inscribed with their demands and chanting slogans against non-payment of salaries. They also refused to work under the government’s ongoing campaigns against dengue and polio. Later, the LHWs broke the barriers and marched towards the Governor’s House and clashed with the police.

The police officials resorted to a baton-charge. As a result, at least six protesting LHWs fell unconscious. They were immediately rushed to a hospital for necessary treatment. There were also unconfirmed reports of the death of a Lady Health Worker.

Opposition Leader Raja Riaz also reached the spot and showed solidarity with the protesting LHWs, assuring them of his support in this regard.

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and ordered the home secretary and the IG Police to investigate the matter of police torture of the female protesters. He also sought a report from the health secretary on the demands of the protesters.

Meanwhile, according to a handout issued here on Saturday, a meeting was held between Punjab Health Secretary Jahanzeb Khan and a delegation of LHWs.

After a successful dialogue, the workers called off their protest.

The health secretary issued directions to immediately release two months’ salary to LHW and Lady Health Supervisors performing duty in Lahore while one month’s salary to Lady Health Workers of other districts from available financial resources.

A large number of Lady Health Workers and Lady Health Supervisors also staged a rally in Peshawar.

The protesters came out of the King Abdullah Teaching Hospital and marched through various roads and reached the Press Club.

Speaking on the occasion, the office-bearers of the LHWs and LHSs said they would not rejoin duty if their salaries and other dues were not paid.

They said the government should revisit its policies chalked out recently to make the country polio free as the LHWs and LHSs who cover more than 70 percent of the targeted population were deprived of the honorarium and fuel charges and those health officials who receive big salaries and other perks were paid for polio duty.

In Pakpattan, Lady Health Workers, supervisors, drivers and others staff of the National Health Programme took out a rally against non-payment of their salaries.

The protesters took out rally from the health office to the DCO Office. The protesters staged a sit-in in front of the DCO office. In the meantime, LHW Robina Bibi fell unconscious. The protesters said that if their demand was not met till October 20, they would boycott the anti-polio drive which was scheduled to start from Oct 24.

Agencies add: In Multan, Lady Health Supervisors staged a sit-in in Nawan Shahr Chowk. The protesters said that if the government did not pay them salaries they would boycott the polio vaccination campaign and dengue spray campaign.

Meanwhile, the Lady Health Workers Association (LHWA) and Para Medical Staff Association staged a protest demonstration against the alleged torture of LHVs in Muzaffargarh district.

Scores of protesters held banners and placards against the officials and demanded the DPO to restore cases of victimization and torture to LHV which have been withdrawn against them.

Source: The News