Authorities discuss delayed salary payments to lady health workers

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Under a special directive from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was attending the Nuclear Security Summit, a meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s House on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah, , to resolve the issues pertaining to lady health workers, who held protests for release of their salaries.
The committee deliberated in detail on all issues relating to lady health workers that included delayed payment of salaries, non-provision of medicine and medical kits and other logistic problems. The meeting was also attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, secretaries of the concerned federal ministries, chief secretaries of Punjab and Sindh and representatives of provincial governments.
The meeting acknowledged the importance of lady health workers in the public health sector delivery system and appreciated their role in polio eradication in the country under the extended programme on immunisation. The committee directed the planning division secretary to immediately release the salaries for all such workers. A committee was formed under the chairpersonship of Shahnaz Wazir Ali to address all outstanding issues pertaining to lady health workers. The committee will include secretaries of Planning, Finance and Inter Provincial Coordination Divisions and secretaries of Health and Finance from the provincial governments. It will finalise its recommendations within two weeks and submit them to the prime minister for his consideration and approval.
Taking note of delay in release of salaries to the lady health workers by the provincial Finance Departments, the committee directed that in future there should be no delay in disbursement of the salaries. It may be mentioned that under the 18th Amendment, the LHW programme is the responsibility of provincial governments as the subject has been devolved to the Provinces. However, the federal government will continue to assist the provinces in the matter till the next NFC Award. Shahnaz said this was the largest programme in the Public Health Sector and its immense contributions in the social sector have been acknowledged by international organisations. She emphasized that the programme should not be shelved as it may have immense negative social implications as there is no alternate arrangement yet to replace this programme.