LAHORE - Punjab Health Department recruited 2,456 'quacks in grade 17th for providing healthcare facilities to innocent school children at Basic Health Units (BHUs) level and new posts of School Health & Nutrition Supervisors were created for this purpose on the orders of Governor Punjab. In year 2008, 2nd division MA economics, MA Urdu, MA Punjabi degree holders who had no knowledge of health sciences were made 'doctors by appointing them as School Health & Nutrition Supervisors at Basic Health Units (BHUs), The Nation reliably learnt on Thursday. Insiders said the appointments of School Health and Nutrition Supervisors were made mostly on political basis ignoring the fact that MA degree holder candidates do not have the capacity to guide or judge anything about nutrition status of children at the rural schools. Sources in the Punjab health department confided to The Nation that the Secretary Health Punjab appointed educated quacks for providing health education and healthcare facilities to school children despite the fact that hundreds of young doctors are running from pillar to post for regular jobs in the health department. The Health Department in its record showed that those recruited had relevant masters degree in nutrition, sociology, social works, psychology, anthropology, botany, chemistry and microbiology in a bid to fill the gap existing in healthcare on account of shortage of doctors willing to serve in rural areas. The health department after a training of three months on the pattern of Lady Health Workers (LHVs) appointed the 2,456 candidates in grade 17th like 'doctors with heavy responsibility of health of school children in rural areas. As per the specifications, including qualification requirement laid down by the Health Department for the posts read as under: The qualification for the recruitment on posts of School Health and Nutrition Supervisors will be Masters Degree in any subject at least 2nd division from a recognised university, preference will be given to masters degree in Nutrition, Sociology, Social Works, Psychology, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Microbiology, MPA and MBA. Dr Javed Haider Joya, who is serving under Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP) at Basic Health Unit Burewala told The Nation that PRSP doctors and paramedical staff are protesting against the double standards of Punjab health department which ignoring MBBS doctors had appointed quacks in grade 17 at BHUs. On example is, that one Afsheen Shaher MSc (Economics) joined as School Health & Nutrition supervisor on 13 January 2009 to give healthcare in schools in Tehsil Burewala (Chak No 257/E.B) under administrative control of Basic Health Unit, District Vehari. The duties of the school health supervisors also included implementing school health and nutrition programmes in the catchment area together with the concerned health officer, in-charge of BHU. Besides that the supervisors are responsible to assist the health officer in collection, compilation, and processing of the data of health related activities in catchment areas of BHUs. It is height of apathy that the health department did to regularise over 3,000 medical officers and paramedical staff working at 12 rural health centers under Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP) despite the fact that they are working on contract for the last 5 years at rural health centers and Basic Health Units. On the other hand, the health department recruited on regular basis 2456 school health and nutrition supervisors one each at same number of basic health units (2456) in Punjab in grade 17. When contacted Secretary Health Punjab Anwaar Ahmad Khan admitted that Masters Degree holders have been appointed as school health and nutrition supervisors in 17th grade. He said most of the appointees are MSc in subjects like Nutrition, Sociology, Social Works, Psychology, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry and Microbiology, which are related to medical sciences. Chairman Chief Ministers Task Force on Health, Dr Saeed Elahi said Master degree holder is not incompetent for the job of health supervisor and mostly MSc degree holders in subjects related to medical sciences have been appointed on the posts. About the fate of MBBS doctors working under PRSP in rural health units, he said that they (PRSP medics) have been called at the office of secretary health Punjab and hopefully they will be regularised soon in the health department.