Polio workers from Baldia, SITE, Orangi and Keamari staged a protest on Monday outside the Karachi Press Club against the political appointments of polio workers.
The health workers said that they have been working with the health department for the last 18 years, yet they are not being given priority by taluka health officials and district administrations.
There are more than 1,800 workers in all four areas that are being victimised by the top officials, said Polio Action Committee president Baqir Hussain. The old workers initiated the polio campaign in sensitive areas, even when the law enforcement agencies avoided entering them, Baqir claimed. New workers are now being appointed with good packages, when the law and order situation is under control, he added.
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"We offered our services with minimum wages and risked our lives," said Baqir. He said that most of workers in these areas were paid only Rs2,700 to Rs3,100. "The wages have now been increased to Rs3,800," he said.
"Only politically backed workers are being preferred. It is an injustice with the old workers," said Asad Hussain, an area in-charge of Baldia. He said that most of the workers had raised their genuine grievances before top officials. "No one listens to us." Speaking to the media, Junaid from SITE said that most of the workers have also appeared in recent interviews conducted by the health department. "We are not being considered this time," he claimed. The government is recruiting incapable under-age workers, he added.
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Emergency Operations Centre coordinator Dr Muhammad Usman Chachar said that only educated, local and female workers are given priority. "Only those polio workers are being removed who performed poorly."
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2015.
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