LHWs in Multan staged a protest outside EDO office Multan

MULTAN: On Monday, Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in Multan city staged a protest demonstration outside the Executive District Officer (EDO) office against the maltreatment and illegitimate cases.

Offensive words were also exchanged between both the parties with continuous pushing and shoving.

Lady health workers threatened that they will boycott the polio campaign due from February 14 in case stern action is not taken against responsible persons.

Over 50,000 lady health workers (LHWs) threatened to boycott the anti polio campaign last year if their salaries and wage arrears were not paid by the Punjab government.

They demanded that Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif listen to their pleas and help resolve their salary issues before Eid.

It is not unusual for lady health workers to get their salaries following a delay of two to three months. Sometimes they do not get it even on the occasion of Eid.

Abida Bibi, one of the LHWs living in Multan, is a widow and a mother of four children. “Now she had not left with even a single penny to buy food for her children. she feels helpless, she said.

Dr Baseer Achakzai, who is responsible for LHWs at the federal level, claimed that the Planning Commission had already released amounts to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC).

Rukhsana Anwar, president of LHWs association in Punjab, said the provincial government is assigning more responsibilities to them yet it is not paying them well or on time. Their salaries over the last two years are pending, according to which every LHW deserves to get Rs150, 000 per person, she claimed.

Besides this, the provincial government pays them their salaries with a delay of two to three months, said Anwar.

A senior Punjab health official said on the condition of anonymity that the issues of LHWs are genuine. He blamed the federal government for payment delays and making false commitments to provide salaries till 2017.

Through bridge financing from the Punjab government, the official said, the provincial health department is trying to pay LHW salaries on time. The federal releases fund to the provincial government after getting funds from the Planning Commission. Dr Baseer Achakzai is responsible for LHWs at the federal level.

Earlier lady health workers of Faisalabad have not been paid their salaries for four months. They demand that the chief minister take notice of this, said Lady Health Workers’ Association president Surayya Waseer said.