KATHMANDU, APR 05 -
A strike called by medical practitioners across Punjab in Pakistan has left in the lurch dozens of Nepali doctors and post-graduate medical trainees.
Thousands of doctors working in public hospitals across Punjab resigned and many others have gone on strike after the provincial government failed to meet their demands for a raise in salary, leaving many hospitals desperately short-staffed and struggling to administer patient care.
According to Dr Arun Kumar Singh, the President of Nepalese Students’ Organisation, Pakistan, more than 40 Nepali Post-graduate trainees for MD/MS/FCPS/MCPS and house officers working in different hospitals and institutes in Punjab have resorted to the strike as local hospitals and the provincial government failed to pay them since March.
The Nepali Embassy in Islamabad is closely monitoring developments and has advised Nepali doctors there not to align themselves with the agitators. It has asked them instead to take leave until the dispute is resolved.
“Due to the conflict between the Punjab Government and the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA), Nepali doctors are under pressure,” Dr. Singh wrote in an email response to a question.
“We have advised them to talk to principals of hospitals and medical institutions (and to tell them) that as foreigners they do not have any sides to take. It would be better for them to take leave and stay in the hostel until the ongoing agitation is over,” said Deputy Chief of Mission at the Nepali Embassy in Islamabad, Durga Bhandari.
Dr. Singh said the Nepali doctors and medical practitioners are being threatened and forced to join the strike. “We are in a dilemma. We don’t know if we should report for duty,” he said.
Some hospitals and medical institutions like PIC, King Edward Medical University, Ganga Ram Hospital, General Hospital and Jinnah Hospital have asked doctors to evacuate the hostel by Tuesday.
Approximately, 70 Nepali students, including 40 doctors, are pursuing higher education in Punjab province alone. Altogether, more than 200 Nepalis are pursuing medical courses in Pakistan.
The Nepali doctors have urged Nepali authorities, including the Nepali Embassy in Pakistan, to take immediate steps to ensure their safety.
Punjab docs’ stir: Nepali docs fraught in Pak medi-strike
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