World Nurses Day observed amid pandemic

Nurses demand Covid-19 risk allowance, PPE, health professional allowance

​ Our Correspondent May 13, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh Young Nurses Association (SYNA) staged a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, registering their protest on World Nurses Day.

As many as 100 nurses gathered to demand timely promotions, health professional allowances, and Covid-19 risk allowance and shouted slogans seeking the same. The assembled nurses were from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, National Institute of Child Health, and Lyari General Hospital.

SYNA General-Secretary Heera Lal maintained that "the [Sindh] government has not fulfilled its promises." According to Lal, the provincial government had promised the nurses that their demands would be fulfilled last Ramzan. However, the Sindh health department does not take nurses' issues seriously, lamented the general-secretary.

Lal further maintained that at least 60 of their peers have been infected by the coronavirus, adding that, "all nurses should be provided personal protective equipment."

During the protest, Lal also recalled the dispute between the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical College staff and Lyari General Hospital nurses, where despite the issue being resolved through dialogue, at least three nurses were transferred.

Earlier, the SYNA had lamented that while nurses continued to fight the coronavirus on the frontlines, the health department continued to take action against them. They had leveled that transfers had become routine and were frequently done "as revenge".

Meanwhile, at the protest, SYNA President Aijaz Kaleri stated that "we [the nurses] will protest daily till our demands are met." He added that the provincial health department officials were deliberately not resolving genuine issues of the nurses. He said more nurses from various hospitals will be joining them today (Wednesday).

Protests were also carried in other parts of the province, including Hyderabad, Badin, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, and other major cities.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, observing International Nurses Day, paid tribute to nurses, doctors, and paramedics, in a video statement issued on Tuesday.

"I am really thankful to nurses, doctors and paramedical staff for working selflessly," he said, adding that they were fighting the pandemic on the frontline. "Their lives are precious and they are important [to us] as it is through their [hard] work that many lives are saved, the CM said.   

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2020.


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