A female health workers group has demanded the restoration of 17 lady health workers and a supervisor who were sacked for their help in tracing slain al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
The group has also threatened to boycott the upcoming polio vaccination campaign if the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government does not accept their demands.
The 18 workers were part of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation and had assisted Dr Shakil Afridi in running a fake polio campaign at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency to obtain DNA samples of Bin Laden and his family so that their presence in Abbottabad could be confirmed.
“The sacked workers are being used as scapegoats while senior officials are not being touched,” said Farman Khan, chief patron of the Lady Health Workers Programme Association (LHWPA), at the Peshawar Press Club on Saturday. He said that not only have they been terminated, they have also been declared ineligible for government service for the rest of their lives.
Khan said that LHWs have been serving the nation for 18 years but their contracts are yet to be regularised. “Devolution under the 18th Amendment has created another set of problems for them as the provincial government isn’t paying them or reimbursing travel charges.”
He also pointed out discrepancies in the salary structure, saying that a worker gets Rs7,000 a month and a supervisor, who looks over 30 workers, also gets the same amount.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.
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