Khyber Pakhtunkhawa doctors end strike after successful talks with government

Khyber Pakhtunkhawa doctors end strike after successful talks with government
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Mahmood Khan, Chief Minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province met with doctors on Tuesday to resolve issues faced by health officials. The breakthrough in the talks led to the doctors calling off their strike late on Tuesday. (Photo KP health directorate)
Khyber Pakhtunkhawa doctors end strike after successful talks with government
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Mahmood Khan (center), Chief Minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is seen in a group photo with officials and doctors after successful talks resulted in them calling off their strike late on Tuesday. (Photo KP health directorate)
Updated 22 May 2019

Khyber Pakhtunkhawa doctors end strike after successful talks with government

Khyber Pakhtunkhawa doctors end strike after successful talks with government
  • Week-long demonstrations had paralyzed the public health sector in the entire province
  • Protest has gained momentum after a senior doctor was allegedly assaulted by the provincial health minister

PESHAWAR: Doctors in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province called off their week-long strike on Tuesday after a breakthrough in talks with government officials, leading to the resumption of services in several public hospitals across the province which had been derailed by the protests.
“The doctors will resume their duties and Out Patient Departments (OPDs) will start functioning from today (Wednesday) throughout the province’s hospitals,” Syed Bilal Laxmi, PRO to KP health minister told Arab News.
He said two committees would be formed, with one committee comprising government officials and senior doctors, to negotiate reforms in both the District Health Authority (DHA) and the Regional Health Authority (RHA).
The second committee, he said, would conduct a probe into the alleged assault of a senior doctor by provincial health minister Dr. Hisham Inamullah Khan and his security guards. The doctors’ strike gained momentum after an assistant professor from the Khyber Teaching Hospital had complained about the incident.
The week-long strike, which was held across the province, had paralyzed the entire public health sector in KP.
On Monday, KP government Spokesperson Ajmal Wazir told Arab News that the issue would be resolved at the earliest as per the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan who had instructed officials to prioritize and address the concerns of the protesting doctors.
Medical practitioners associated with government hospitals in the province were protesting against the proposed privatization of their health facilities and criticized the idea of forming regional and district health authorities.
However, they called off their strike at the start of the month after the provincial administration promised to address their grievances.
“I hope we will be able to tackle the issue in the next few days. We will do everything to prevent this protest from flaring up further,” Wazir had said.
Dr. Fazl Manan, a senior member of the Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) and president Hayat Medical Complex, told Arab News that they have ended their strike based on the provincial government’s assurances.
“The doctors’ community has partly agreed on terms and condition with the government because of patients suffering in the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.
During the protest, poor patients – who mostly rely on public health facilities – found themselves in a bind, with several forced to seek the services of private clinics, despite being unable to afford treatment at these infirmaries.
Hakim Khan, a shopkeeper from the province’s southern district of Tank, told Arab News that he had to take his nine-year-old daughter, who had fractured her arm, to a private clinic – even though it cost him Rs. 15,000 ($102) – since the OPD at the district hospital was closed.
Young Doctors Association (YDA) President Dr. Rizwan Kundi told Arab News that the council would end its strike if their grievances were resolved.
“Option is on the table. We can again stage a more aggressive comeback to resume our protest if the government backtracks,” Dr. Manan warned.