ISLAMABAD: Protesting healthcare workers in Islamabad closed the vaccination centers and outpatient departments (OPDs) to mark their protest against nonpayment of health risk allowance to them.
Dr Asfandyar Khan told media that the healthcare employees have decided to keep the vaccination centres closed till the time their allowance issue is resolved.
He said the protesting workers are also demanding removal of the Secretary NHS Amer Ashraf Khuwaja who is responsible for non-payment of allowance as funds lapsed.
Dr Asfandyar said more than Rs 900 million, including Rs480 million allocated for the allowance, lapsed as Ministry of NHS did not utilise these funds.
Funds are allocated, as per demand of the ministry in the budget, but amount lapses if not utilised (by the ministry) till end of the financial year.
While replying to a question, Dr Khan said though Dr Nausheen Hamid contacted them and tried to convince them to start working but employees were not ready to listen to her as she failed to address the issue despite promising several tims.
He said the allowance had to be given to doctors, nurses, paramedics, laboratory attendants, and field staff for undertaking multi-faceted activities including surveillance of areas for Covid but health secretary was trying to give the allowance to only those who served in the Covid wards.