KARACHI – Hundreds of male and female nurses of three big hospitals of the metropolis – the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, National Institute of Child Health and Civil Hospital Karachi – continued their protest outside the Karachi Press Club.

An official of the Provincial Nurses’ Association (PNA) of Sindh said that Sindh Nursing Board Director Zarina, on Monday, called on the protesters outside the press club, and held negotiations.

He said that protest would continue until the government accepted their genuine demands.

Ten days have passed but the protest of nurses is still continuing in the city, despite Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s orders for immediate resolution of their problems.

APP adds: As per directives of Sindh Health Minister, Dr. Saghir Ahmed, the department has prepared a summary of Rs. one billion for raise in the salary of the paramedics associated with provincial government hospitals.

A spokesman of health department on Monday said the amount proposed for summary has been finalized after series of consultations between health minister and all representative bodies of paramedics functional in the province.

These representative bodies were said to include Sindh Paramedical Staff Association, Peoples Paramedical Staff Association and Medical Aid.

During the meetings between Dr. Saghir Ahmed and paramedics’ representatives it was decided that all efforts would be made for acceptance of every genuine demand of the healthcare providers.

The representatives appreciated that the Sindh health minister had been actively involved in solving the problems faced by professionals associated with the field of medical care.

Meanwhile,  Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) presented almost a deserted look on Monday with all its out-patients departments locked by protesting nurses and paramedics who are on strike for past 10 days.

“We have, however, against all odds and grave difficulties managed to keep the emergency and accident departments functional where 680 patients were attended on Sunday,” Dr. Seemien Jamali, Director, JPMC told APP.

“Keeping in view the tense situation in city people with emergency conditions are being constantly brought in and duly attended,” she added.

The JPMC director said cases of gun shots, poison, dog bites and other acute medical emergencies were being attended at the emergency department of the hospital on Monday too.

In reply to a question, she said JPMC administration had tried to convince the protestors to rejoin their duties in the larger interest of the patients but failed in all its efforts.

Meanwhile, another senior doctor of the hospital said that the doctors were coerced by the protesting staff not to attend patients and the threats could not be ignored as no arrangement existed for the protection and security of the healthcare providers otherwise keen to realize their responsibilities towards patients.

Executive Director, National Institute of Child Health (NICH), Prof. Jamal Raza said children arriving with different health conditions are being referred to other community hospitals as Indus Hospital.

Nurses and paramedical staff of all provincial government hospitals are on strike for acceptance of their wide range of demands including revised service structure, promotions and raise in salaries, stipends and allowances.

“We still have 80 to 100 patients admitted to different departments and ICUs etc as these can not be shifted to any other facility.” said Dr. Jamal Raza.

The NICH executive director said no routine surgery could be performed during past 10 days, however, a few surgical interventions required under emergency conditions were performed by the hospital’s surgeons.

“I do expect that all genuine demands of nurses and paramedics would be accepted and translated into action while also appeal to the nurses and paramedics to see the humanitarian aspect of their profession,” he said.

Senior doctors of JPMC and NICH said the situation may turn all the more serious once the 48 hours ultimatum given by Young Doctors Association (YDA) of JPMC is crossed.

They also referred to the fact that one of the demands of the JPMC and NICH nursing students of Rs.7000/- stipend is beyond comprehension as they are already receiving this amount. Other nursing trainees from different provincial government schools and colleges may not be receiving but our students are, they said.

Sindh health department officials said the summary moved by health minister Dr. Saghir Ahmed, viz a viz demands of nurses, was with the office of chief minister and required orders are expected to be issued very soon.

“They must discontinue with their pressure tactics at the cost of patients as all their genuine demands would be accepted,” said the official.