Wednesday Apr 08, 2020
QUETTA: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) on Tuesday announced an end to their boycott after reaching an agreement with the provincial government.
Provincial minister Zmarak Khan announced that the government had accepted the rightful demands put forward by the YDA. "We stand with doctors and the paramedical staff," he said during a press conference with the association's president, Dr Yasir Khan.
The YDA had announced a boycott of their services in hospitals across Balochistan on Monday after Quetta police baton-charged doctors for protesting near the CM House.
One-hundred and fifty doctors were arrested for protesting against the lack of Personal Protection Equipment in hospitals across the province to treat coronavirus patients.
"We are putting in all our efforts to win the war against the coronavirus," said Dr Yasir.
Yasir said that the YDA was ending its boycott and expressed the hope that the committee formed by provincial ministers to approve doctors' demands will keep their promises.
"We know the protest made life difficult for people," admitted Dr Yasir.
Earlier today, Dr Yasir had demanded that the policemen involved in manhandling and arrest of the medical staff be punished.
The provincial health secretary and special secretary should be removed from their posts, he had said.
“Until our demands are met, no services will be provided apart from in the labour room and cardiology department,” he had said.
The YDA's demands included the provision of PPE, medical kits and other facilities so that they could treat patients of the coronavirus.
It was learnt that there was no medical staff available to treat patients at the Civil Hospital Quetta after the protest. After the continuation of boycott, the attendants of the patients had also protested for not being provided healthcare.
The Government of Balochistan has accepted all demands put forward by doctors, said spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani earlier on Monday.
"We have accepted all demands put forward by doctors," he said. "Contracts of 533 doctors have been extended till June. Two hundred and five doctors and nurses have been appointed on an ad hoc basis," he added.
On Monday afternoon, police arrested 150 doctors in Quetta who held a protest demonstration over the non-availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Protesting doctors were baton-charged and arrested by police as they tried to protest in front of the Chief Minister House to demand PPE while treating coronavirus patients.
The police, in response, said that doctors had been arrested as they were found in violation of Section 144 which bans public gatherings.
Shahwani said that safety equipment and kits had been provided to doctors. He said that the government had issued orders to release doctors earlier during the day. "Doctors are not going to their homes. Please leave the police stations," he said.
"We request the doctors to not become a part of any mafia [...] We will bring changes and facilitate them," he said.
He said that the government appreciated efforts being put in by doctors and health professionals to fight the pandemic. "We salute the medical services being provided by doctors," he said. "Doctors are messiahs. Messiahs don't boycott patients," he added.