Health employees have ended their 47 days long strike after reaching a settlement with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government. This is one of many strikes improvised by the health department to get the government to listen to their demands. The recent increase in prices, along with a shortage of medicines, and the lack of increase in the pays of the doctors has resulted in a deadlock between the government and the public hospital employees. The government needs to address the demands made by doctors - if they see that privatisation is no longer feasible, the government should conduct a private investigation of the matter to assess the progress and to conclude whether or not it is the best way forward for the KP health system.

The protest was devised by 45,000 health sector employees of over 1500 hospitals across the province. They were determined to march towards the provincial assembly before they were beaten up by the KP police. Such treatment should not be meted out to the people of the country. Peaceful assembly is a right granted by the constitution of Pakistan and if protestors are not disrupting the peaceful life of the vicinity, they should be allowed to voice their concerns. If an aggrieved group is aggravated further, they are bound to retaliate. The recent settlement is also not very assuring because the formation of a committee to look into the demands of the group was promised earlier this year as well but as soon as the staff went back to duty, no such committee was formed.

At the same time, Prof Nausherwan Burki who is the chairman of Prime Minister Health Task Force (the mind behind the establishment of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi) is said to have thrashed a surgeon along with the architect of MTI and RDHA, and Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan at a teaching hospital in KP five months ago. The public hospital staff is no longer interested in collaborating with Dr Burki and that alone creates hindrances in the process of reforms.

Health reforms are a need of the country and the government should involve the stakeholders in the process. The doctors agitated at this point are the workforce that will be involved in bringing about any change that the government wishes to fulfill.