PESHAWAR: Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) technicians say they will boycott vaccination campaigns and protest outside PTI chief Imran Khan’s house in Bani Gala over the non-payment of salaries and delay in regularisation of services. They have given a four-day deadline to the government to meet their demands.
“The K-P health department failed to pay over 272 EPI technicians working under GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization),” said All EPI/GAVI Employees Association President Irfanullah at the press club on Monday. “The salaries have been withheld for the last seven months, despite directives from Imran Khan.”
Flanked by association chairperson Malik Qamar, vice president Asfandyar, and others, Irfanullah said it was agreed at a meeting with PTI in Islamabad to regularise all EPI employees and pay them by March 25. “The payment has not been given as yet.”
The K-P government and health authorities were accused of neglecting both demands. “The GAVI project will be suspended by the end of June this year,” he said, adding this was the reason behind the government delaying the implementation of EPI employees’ demands.
“EPI technicians have not been paid for special polio campaigns either,” said Irfanullah.
“We demand the urgent payment of our pending salaries and the regularisation of our services, without any further delay,” he added.
“EPI employees participated during polio drives in spite of security challenges and threats by militant groups,” said Sarfaraz Durrani, association member and technician. He said more than 5,000 positions of health technicians remain vacant in the provincial health department, which can be filled through regularisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2015.
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