Many Pakistani doctors and nurses have gone on hunger strike due to non-availability of protective gear equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. The doctors are demanding the government to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line medical staff.
According to Young Doctor’s Association, more than 150 health workers have tested positive for the virus country wide. Doctors have been complaining about shortage of the protective equipment for weeks which led to arrest of 50 doctors in Quetta, during a protest. Doctor Salman Haseeb, who is the head of Grand Health alliance and is organizing the protest has declared that he won’t rest until the government gives in to their demands. He is of the view that if front line medical staff is not being protected, then the rest of population is definitely at a greater risk to contract the virus. The alliance stated that 30 doctors and nurses are on strike whereas a medical staff of 200 joins them daily for demonstrations.
Punjab’s health workers are adamant upon furnishing adequate quarantine facilities for the infected medical staff and are supporting the alliance. Lately, more than 3 dozen doctors, nurses and paramedics contracted the novel virus in a hospital in Multan city, while seven members of a doctor’s family got infected in Lahore.
LHC dismisses doctors’ petition
The protest comes at the heel of the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissing a petition against the non-availability of personal protective equipment for them treating coronavirus patients in Punjab, on Saturday.
The LHC dismissed the plea and fined petitioners for taking up the court’s time. In a 5-page written verdict, the court ruled that the petitioners had mala-fide intentions when they filed the plea.
LHC chief justice slammed doctors for filing the petition, stating that the claim had been made “without solid evidence”.
They filed the petition without solid evidence and with the sole purpose of gaining cheap publicity. The court reserves the right to act against people who file unnecessary petitions,” the ruling stated, adding that “If the authorities believe that the petition is against the civil service conduct rules, they may take action against the petitioners. Paramedics are leading the fight against the coronavirus”.