Around 13,600 lady health workers (LHW) have been given permanent jobs according to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Regularisation of Lady Health Workers Programme Employees bill 2014 passed by the K-P Assembly on June 26.
A copy of the bill available with The Express Tribune mentions that after the 18th Amendment, the subject of health was devolved to the provinces and, as such, the LHW programme run by the federal government for supporting family planning and primary health care, was also devolved.
The purpose of the programme was to provide preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care services to the population of K-P. The government may appoint staff to various posts on contract and there shall be no regular appointment, added the copy of the bill.
“All programme employees who were appointed on contract or a fixed monthly stipend before July 1, 2012, and holding the said post till the commencement of this act, shall stand regularised with effect from July 1, 2012,” it states.
LHWs regularised under this long-awaited bill shall be placed in relevant pay scales corresponding to those of civil servants, or as may be determined by the government. It adds that a programme employee may opt to retire from service after completion of 20 years of qualifying service or upon reaching 60 years of age. It also entitles LHWs to pension and retirement benefits as may be determined by the government.
Talking to The Express Tribune, K-P LHW President Ayesha Hassan appreciated the provincial government for passing the bill and hoped that it would now be properly implemented. Hassan added that it took a very hard struggle from LHWs, lady health supervisors and other health employees to get this law passed.
She said LHWs have always played a key role in spreading awareness amongst women and in polio and measles vaccination drives. However, she added that they have received nothing in response and have been deprived of their salaries.
“We could not even differentiate up till this point whether we were government or private employees,” said Hassan.
“But this is a very important step in securing the future of all our workers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2014.
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