Federal Hospitals Doctors & Paramedics Strike in Karachi on Monday, May 16, 2011 :
Karachi : Complete boycott of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH), except their emergencies, was observed on Monday, which caused inconvenience to thousands of patients as they seek medical help.
All laboratories, out patient departments, theatres, except emergency ward remained closed in a move to press the federal government to withdraw its decision to hand over these two federal hospitals to the province pursuant to the 18th Amendment. The other demand was that young doctors’ pay be set equivalent to pay scale of young doctors in Punjab.
Interestingly, two associations with different agendas had given the strike call. Joint Action Committee (JAC) had been protesting for last 16 days against devolution, while Young Doctors Association (YDA) demanded a unified pay policy for all health institutions of the country.
Both associations appeared to have not supported each other, incidentally JAC and YDA ended up selecting to strike at the same day to press for their demands.
The office-bearers of JAC told Daily Times that Federal Health Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada had assured them on phone that these federal hospitals would be kept in their current status under the federal government.
However, members of JAC said that they would continue their strike of both federal hospitals until the assurance was made in writing. Whereas, YDA also vowed to widen its protest by boycotting services in the entire province from May 18 unless its demands are met.
Interestingly, some members of YDA attempted to facilitate patients on the premises of JPMC, which resulted in an abusive verbal exchange between the two associations.
Deputy Director JPMC Dr Seemi Jamali said the JAC had assured the administration earlier that it would not allow the patients to suffer by its protest. Jamali was shocked to see the boycott in light of JAC’s earlier assurances.
Jamali further said action would be taken under disciplinary rules against those found creating disturbance.