Rawalpindi - The workers of a private sanitation company went on a strike in two allied hospitals after government’s failure to clear their salaries for the last six months.

Due to the strike, the sanitation work in Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and Holy Family Hospital (HFH) is in a shambles since the strike. Clinical waste has littered all the wards including the Intensive Caring Units (ICUs) and High Dependency Wards (HDWs). This has put the patients, including infants, at risk of contracting infectious deceases, a visit paid by The Nation revealed here on Monday.

The owners of private sanitation company Hello Tec (HT) also misbehaved with some senior doctors at Peads department of BBH when the doctors requested the sanitary workers to lift the waste piling up in the wards.

The Paeds in-charge has lodged a written complaint with Medical Superintendent (MS) BBH against the owners and supervisor of the private sanitation company.

According to details, the sanitary workers of a private sanitation company left the cleaning work in the wards of BBH and HFH after the owners of the company barred them from imparting their duties.

As a result, heaps of medical waste including used syringes, empty plastic bottles, blood stained plasters and other stuff could be seen in all the wards. The attendants of patients have brought the matter into the notice of managements of the hospitals but in vain. Instead, the owners and supervisor of the sanitation company misbehaved with doctors and protested that they would not clean the wards until the Punjab Health Department clears their dues.

“I have brought my six month old daughter in BBH for medical treatment and doctors admitted her in HDW. The condition of ward is dirty,” said Mahrukh Bibi, a resident of Waris Khan. She said the lives of infants admitted in HDW are in danger because of unhygienic conditions.

Haseeb, the owner of private sanitation company, on the other hand, told The Nation that he has been facing a major financial crisis due to delay in clearance of longstanding dues by the Punjab government and health department. “Now, we will not clean wards until clearance of dues,” he said.

He said he had contracted a cleanliness contract with government under which 200 each sanitary workers will clean wards of BBH and HFH daily.

 

Nonetheless, he said, the government has stopped paying the company for last six months and he along with his partner Ahmed has been paying salaries to workers from their own pockets. “So far, we had paid Rs 20.5 million in salaries to workers since the last five months,” he said. He said their pockets are now empty and scores of their sanitary workers have resigned from job. “I contacted MS BBH for solving the payment issue but he has not been able to help in the matter,” he said.

MS BBH Dr Arshad Ali Sabir said he had taken notice of dirty condition of wards and would soon arrange to have the garbage lifted. He said he would contact the higher authorities for clearing the dues of private sanitation company.

Punjab Secretary Health could not be contacted for his comment on the against strike of sanitary workers in the two allied hospitals.