Pakistani nurses boycott work, stage protest for better working conditions
Dozens of members of the Sindh Young Nurses Association (SYNA) boycotted work at hospitals and staged a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club in Karachi on Tuesday, the International Nurses Day.
According to reports, the protesters claimed that, although the nurses in the Sindh Province, where Karachi is located, had been putting their lives at risk due to COVID-19, the provincial health department continued to deny them coronavirus risk allowances or health professional allowances.
A spokesperson for SYNA, Syed Shahid Iqbal, said that whenever the nurses raised their voices for their rights, they were transferred to a different hospital.
“More than 40 of our nurses have become infected with the coronavirus so far. One male nurse has expired. We are without any PPE kits, and are fighting like soldiers who are sent to war without any bullets. We should be appreciated for this,” Iqbal said.
“Despite all this, we are covering up the inefficiency of the Sindh government, and are continuing to work without the requisite equipment. But now, we cannot tolerate the attitude of the Sindh government anymore, and we are compelled to come out and protest.”
Nurses said they would continue to protest for their demands, which also include the implementation of a service structure, provision of personal protective equipment, and an end to unjust transfers.
The spokesman for Sindh Health Ministry, Atif Hussain, told Reuters later in the day that the demands for nurses’ allowances were under consideration and hoped that they would get approved in the upcoming budget.
Pakistan has reported over 32,000 cases of the coronavirus and 706 deaths as of 1000 GMT on Tuesday.