Mehrab Shah Afridi and Tayyab Mohammadzai
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Young Doctors Association that heirs of several of health staff who lost their lives due to pandemic have not received the compensation of Martyrs Package.
The association said that this delay has left the heirs in dire straits.
On the other hand, health department said that the payment of compensation was delayed due to the verification process. The department said that the verification was in process and compensation payment will be paid to the families soon.
Dr Sabir, YDA Hayatabad’s president also expressed his displeasure over facilities provided to the doctors during the pandemic. “Delay in compensation money is the failure of the authorities,” he said.
Besides, he said that health officials pocketed the money, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) allocated to the department.
Dr Sabir said that the health workers defeated the pandemic at great threat to their lives. However, he added that they have held talks with health department on several occasions for payment of compensation but so far the heirs have not been paid.
“Most of the families are still waiting for payment of compensation money,” he said.
He said that they were unable to treat a doctor who had contracted Covid-19 and had no money, through the Sehat Card. “We paid for his treatment expenses,” he said.
Dr Sabir said that most of those who lost their lives in the pandemic were contractual employees who have no pension.
Dr Fakhr Alam, a doctor at the Hayatabad Medical Complex said that 80 medical workers have lost their lives due to pandemic.
He said that the provincial government has promised compensation up to Rs 2.5 million to their heirs; however, this amount was yet to be paid. Only families of two martyrs have received Rs 1 million each thus far, he said.
Dr Alam said that 70 remaining families were waiting for payment of compensation packages.
“Despite protests and negotiation with health authorities on several occasions, they have not been paid the compensation money,” he said.
Dr Alam said that the government was claiming financial issues as the main result for the non-payment of the compensation.
Besides, he said that previously doctors working in Covid-19 wards even had to purchase PPEs from their own pocket while also lacked other facilities,” he said. However, he added that some of these issues have been addressed.
He demanded the payment of compensation package as well the clearing of trainee doctors’ liabilities immediately to enable them to continue their work.
Public health department’s deputy director Dr Saima 84 health workers including class IV, paramedics, doctors, nurses and technicians have lost their lives due to the pandemic.
She said that all of them were eligible for compensation.
Dr Saima said that the health department has laid down tough guidelines for Martyrs Package and the verification of the certificate was very tedious task.
She confirmed that most of the families have not received the compensation money. “The paperwork was quite lengthy and complaints of the heirs were justified,” she added.
Dr Saima said that the documents of health staff losing their lives to Covid-19 have to pass through the offices of the district health officers, director general and secretary health offices.
Besides, she said that necessary documentation included the Covid-19 certificates, appointment and front-line health workers certificates, NADRA registration and a verification certificate from court.