The role of army in civil administration is not going down well with the young doctors.
The Young Doctors Association Punjab expressed concern over grade-17 and above medical officers being monitored by low-ranked army and air-force personnel.
Since 2007, when General (retd) Musharraf was in power, retired army officers such as hawaldars and subedars are monitoring doctors at Basic Health Units (BHUs), Rural Health Centres (RHCs) and tehsil headquarter hospitals all over Punjab, a group of doctors, asking not to be named, said.
“How can a low-ranked army officer, who has retired from his service, monitor a doctor or health facilities without having any knowledge about medicine,” said one of the doctors.
“They do not even know the names of medicines, injections and their usage; how can they supervise the health units,” another doctor added. The doctor alleged that their supervisors just come and sit in the dispensaries and ask the dispensers to collect information for them, delaying the distribution of medicines.
The issue has been raised several times in past by the Young Doctors Association but the doctors complain that no measures were taken to address it. The current Punjab government instead removing these army officers which were appointed by Musharraf have empowered them, said one doctor.
“Considering this how one can we call it a democratic government when army is still dominating us,” he added.
They appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take immediate notice of this matter. We request the chief minister to strengthen the departmental monitoring by appointing doctors and professors who have knowledge of medicine.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2011.