ISLAMABAD: Some government teachers have moved the Islamabad High Court challenging polio vaccination duties assigned to them, arguing that it affects the education of the students.
Six female teachers of the Islamabad Model College for Girls, located in Dhoke Gangal of the capital, filed a petition on Thursday arguing that carrying out vaccination was not included in their listed range of duties.
The teachers, Mohsin Fatima, Samina Kousar, Shaheen Fatima, Rubina, Kanwal Tahira and Shabana Nargas, stated that the concerned authorities should depute well trained teams for polio vaccination campaigns.
In the petition, the teachers requested the court to set aside a notification of the district administration which deputes the petitioners, along with 138 other teachers, for the National Polio Immunisation Campaign.
Consequently, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued notices to the deputy commissioner of the Islamabad Capital Territory, PM’s focal person for Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, secretary CADD, district health officer and the mayor of Islamabad to file their replies by October 31.
In the petition filed through their counsel, the teachers argued that these additional duties were assigned during the academic session and participating in the campaign affects the education of their students. They said that they had informed the principal of their college in writing that polio vaccination is not their duty and it affects their students, but no action had been taken.
In their petition, the teachers asked the IHC to direct the PM’s focal person for PIE and the secretary CADD to explain why cannot the staff of the health department, nursing schools, students of medical colleges and universities as well as staff of NGOs working in the health sector, be deputed for the vaccination campaign and to justify the deputation of teachers.
They argued that NGOs working in the health sector get funds from the government as well as international donors, but their trained medical staff is never deputed for such duties even though the respective NGOs are registered and work under the supervision of the authorities.
They alleged that medical, paramedical staff and lady health workers among others are deliberately not deputed for vaccination duties despite the fact that they are more relevant for the task and draw monthly salaries from government for health related duties.
Following the arguments, the court put the key officials on notice for October 31.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2016.
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