Lady health workers in Gilgit Baltistan boycott anti-polio campaign

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GILGIT: Lady health workers have boycotted the current anti-polio campaign in all 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan to press for their demands.

According to a press release issued by the GB lady health workers association on Monday, the lady health workers have been conducting anti-polio campaigns in GB since 1996, but they are not getting health allowances.

It said health department workers, including contingent employees, had been getting health allowances since 2014, but the lady health workers had been denied this facility.

“Officials of the health department are not ready to meet our demands. They accept our demands are genuine but are not ready to address them. No official has contacted us so far,” it said.

Talking to The Northern Post, vice president of the lady health workers association Ghazala Peerzada said that even service structure had not been made for lady health workers so far. “Many workers have retired, but they are not getting pension. We have no privileges like other government employees have,” she regretted.

She said they were being pressurised to end the boycott.

The nationwide anti-polio campaign started on Monday to vaccinate more than 38 million children under five years of age.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world that have reported poliovirus cases this year.

Meanwhile, GB Chief Secretary Mohammad Khurram Agha inaugurated the campaign by administering polio drops to a child in Gilgit.

Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Samiullaah Farooq reviewed the progress of the first day of anti-polio campaign during a meeting.

He ordered strict action against those lady health workers who tried to disturb the campaign.

The district health officer told the meeting that the performance of health employees and volunteers remained good.

The meeting was attended by officials of the district administration, health department, police and GB scouts.

Originally published in Dawn

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