MULTAN/MUZAFFARGARH - The health workers kept almost all public sector health facilities locked-up except emergency wards here on Thursday as a protest against proposed privatisation of health sector.

The protesters locked up the local health offices, rural health centres, tehsil and district headquarters hospitals, Shahbaz Sharif General Hospital and City Medical Centre. They shouted slogans against the government and warned that they would not flinch from offering any sacrifice to thwart the government’s attempts to commit financial murder of health staff.

Speaking on the occasion, their leaders said that the government had planned to give the charge of health sector to a private company which was an unlawful act.  They included lady health workers leader Madam Rukhsana, Secretary General of All Pakistan Paramedical Staff Punjab Maqbool Ahmad Gujjar, Dr Nasir Siddiqui, Dr Asif and others.

They added that the company had already taken charge of a few hospitals where healthcare cost had gone seriously up while recruitment of medical staff had either been halted or they were employed on daily wages.

They demanded the Punjab government should immediately stop privatisation process and increase health budget. They declared that all rural health centres, THQs, DHQs and town hospitals would be locked up today and the staff would not mark their attendance on biometric system. They added that the health workers would stage a sit-in at health office.

Likewise, Health workers went on strike against the proposed privatisation of health facilities to a private company namely Punjab Health Facilities Management Company (PHFMC). The employees of health department launched a protest against the handing over health facilities to the PHFMC. The employees have stopped working except in emergency till the reversal of the decision by the govt of the Punjab. Speaker said that the plan was aimed at promoting corruption and nepotism. A large number of employees were assembled at CEO (DHA) office and raised anti-Punjab govt slogans. They also requested to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take immediate suo motu action against the plan.

ONLY 75PC WHEAT TARGET ACHIEVED: The food department has achieved 75 per cent of wheat procurement target in Multan division, disclosed food sources.

Similarly, over 90 percent of jute bags have also been distributed. Food sources said that the procurement process got slow as major portion of the target had been achieved. However, the growers accused the staff appointed at wheat procurement centres of doing illegal deductions from their produce.

“As the wheat procurement operation is about to end, the food officials have increased illegal deductions. They’re forcing us to sell wheat to the middlemen on throw away price,” farmers added. They pointed out that the country had produced a good yield of wheat, demanding the government to increase wheat procurement target.

On the other hand, the pace of wheat procurement operation has gone slow as about 75 per cent of total target has been achieved.