Young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, under the banner of Grand Health Alliance (GHA), Punjab, carried a hunger strike camp at Health Secretariat against health authorities’ incompetence and inefficiency to give protective gear to the healthcare professionals laboring at isolation wards for treatment of coronavirus patients in the region.
However, things began to worsen when the protesting medics brought forward a political agenda and demanded the reinstatement of suspended doctors and a boost in salaries.
Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab Senior Vice President Dr. Shoaib Niazi published a list of YDA office-bearers suspended during their last agitation movement against Medical Teaching Institutes (Reforms) Act.
The Health Department officials announced that the young doctors had requested protective kits for medics in the beginning, but then they began making other demands encompassing restoration of their suspended colleagues, and additional incentives for all doctors.
Moreover, the officials told, they demanded to shift of doctors, who had tested positive for coronavirus, to five-star hotel rooms after converting them into quarantines.
Doctors have gone on a hunger strike at Health Secretariat, Lahore demanding provision of protective gear. The govt has announced incentives for industries but can't provide the required number of PPE needed by doctors, paramedics on frontline of Covid-19 war #YDAONHUNGERSTRIKE pic.twitter.com/pfADica2tl
— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) April 17, 2020
The Health Department officials added that it was not time for the healthcare providers to do politics on the pandemic when the government and health machinery were combatting against the common enemy of coronavirus.
As the young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff started agitating aggressively under the leadership of GHA Chairman and YDA President Dr. Salman Haseeb and Paramedical Staff Association (PSA) Punjab Chairman Arshad Butt, the health authorities called police for maintaining peace at the secretariat.
The special secretary health said that young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff had inhabited the whole health secretariat. “We called police for our protection, not for arrests,” he added.
— DrSalmanHaseeb (@DrSalmanHaseeb1) April 17, 2020
Meanwhile, the police thrashed the doctors and locked them in the health secretariat. The doctors also called their colleagues from the city hospitals to help them.
A huge amount of doctors, nurses, and paramedics staged a protest demonstration outside the secretariat.
The young doctors claimed that the police failed to end their hunger strike camp as protesters reorganized themselves.
They pledged that they would proceed to give full services to all patients in general and coronavirus wards in hospitals, but also vowed to carry on their protest until their demands were fulfilled.
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