Khost doctors threaten strike over withheld salaries
KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Doctors and other staff at government-run hospitals in southeastern Khost province on Friday threatened to go on strike in protest against non-payment of salaries over the past six months.
The Union of Doctors in Khost said no health worker had received salary since the international health aid non-governmental organization, HealthNet, had stopped its activities in the province.
Six months ago, the HealthNet lost bid for healthcare services in provinces after the Public Health Ministry decided to give the contract to another bid winner NGO.
Khost Union of Doctors president Dr. Noorullah Noori told a press conference here that their three months salaries had been pending with the previous NGO and three months with the current contractor.
He said the number of doctors and health workers in the provincial capital and districts was above 700 and none of them had so far received salaries.
“We repeated contacted the NGOs concerned, the provincial council and the central government and held meetings with the provincial administration, but failed to elicit a positive response,” Dr. Noori said.
He also criticised the Dutch HealthNet organization, saying the NGO had failed to fulfill people’s needs and had been providing ineffective health services.
Ismail Khel and Mandokhel health centre chief Dr. Farid also accused the NGO of intentionally withholding their salaries. “After failing to win the contract, the NGO wants to overcome its losses and take revenge on the winning bibber by withholding our salaries.”
Health officials said they would go on strike and would hold peaceful protests if their salaries were not released until next Thursday.
Dr. Mohammad Hakim, the in-charge of Shambwat health clinic in Nadar Shah Kot district, told the press conference that if they were not paid their salaries until next Thursday, their final decision would be closing down all health facilities with support from the people.
Pajhwok tried to contact officials of the HealthNet, but did not succeed.
Acting Khost Public Health Director Dr. Hidayatullah Hamidi said the Public Health Ministry had assured him that the issue of salaries would be resolved in a week’s time.
He said they had directly contacted the ministry’s leadership and they had been assured that the salaries would be released over the next one week.
A day earlier, all doctors and other staff at the provincial civil hospital went on strike against the non-payment of their salaries over the past six months.
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