Young Nurses ended six day long protest and sit-in

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Government should accept their demands

The Young Nurses Association (YNA) ended 6 day long sit-in at Charing Cross the Mall Lahore after negotiating with health authorities. The young nurses were protesting for the service structure and health risk allowance. After negotiations with the nurses’ delegation, the health department constituted a committee comprising a deputy secretary to look into the matter.

The nurses come out on the roads in this scorching heat. Many nurses fainted in the heat but continue their struggle for their just demands. The nurses are justified in their demand for health risk allowance because nurses look after the patients with different infectious diseases which can transferred to them. The nurses are also under heavy workload. According to international standards, there should be one nurse for every three beds in a hospital but in Pakistan there are one nurse for 40 beds. In some wards one nurse has to look after more than 80 patients. The nurses also face sexual harassment while working. The female nurses needs to be treated with dignity and respect but instead they face male chauvinistic attitude. At least government should deal with them with respect and dignity.

Both sides agreed that the committee would work on the demand of the nurses and prepare recommendations. It was also assigned the task to prepare a comparative analysis of the salary package the nurses were drawing in both the public and private sectors. The decision would be taken on the basis of the recommendations submitted by the committee. The YNA leaders agreed to this proposal and conveyed the same to the nurses at the protest camp outside the Punjab Assembly. Finally, all the nurses left the place. The nurses’ leaders, however, warned that if their demands were not met during Ramazan, they would again launch agitation after Eidul Fitr.

It has become a norm that young doctors, paramedical staff, nurses and other hospital workers forced to come out on the streets to press for their demands. It seems that the bureaucrats sitting in the health department are not serious to solve the problems faced by the health workers and so is the Punjab government. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff is the backbone of health sector. They should be paid better. There is acute shortage of doctors, nurses and other health workers in the public sector hospitals. The government should immediately recruit more doctors. Nurses and other staff in the hospitals. The respective governments have neglected the public health and hospitals. Most of the hospitals were build before the independence. Since the mushroom growth of the elite private hospitals, the public hospitals were left for poor and working class people because they can not afford the expensive private hospitals.

There are two or sometime three patients on one bed. The state hospital can not cater the increased number of patients. The hospitals in small cities and towns lack basic facilities. In basic health units in rural areas, the non availability of doctors and other facilities is a serious issue. To provide health facilities to the masses is not seems the priority of the Pakistani ruling elite.

What Pakistan need is national health service or universal health service to provide health services to every person living in the country. It is the responsibility of the state to provide health facilities to its citizens. But Pakistani ruling class failed to provide quality health facility to its people. There is urgent need to build new specialised  hospitals in the country.

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