SWAT: The salaries of 185,000 lady health workers, 45,000 supervisors and other health workers in Swat District have not been paid since December 2010.
“Non-payment of salaries has put us in trouble as we are unable to buy basic necessities. We will be starving and our children will be out of schools,” said Saima Bibi, a lady health worker from the Manglawar area
Ruqayya, a widow, has been working as a lady health worker for the last five years. The job supported her four-member family. “Since December our salaries have been stopped. I have been compelled to buy daily use items on loan from shopkeepers.”
Her four school-going children are being punished by the school administration for not paying their fees.
Lady health workers associated with the National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Healthcare are providing care to more than a million people across the district. Easily accessible, lady health workers in villages and far flung areas allow women to get consultations and basic medicines free of cost without having to travel to hospitals in bigger cities. “But now our work is being affected and we are not giving good results because we are not mentally present,” said Saima Bibi as she appealed to the government to take serious note of the issue and release overdue salaries.
Lady health workers have an excellent record and their performance can be judged by the fact that in 2010, no polio cases were identified in Swat; lady health workers were active and committed to their role in managing polio vaccination and maternal health issues in rural Swat.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2011.