HYDERABAD, Oct 14: Members of the Lady Health Workers Union (LHWU), Hyderabad, and other vaccination staff boycotted the ongoing anti-polio drive on Oct 11 in protest against non-payment of their three months salaries.
A large number of lady health workers held a protest demonstration outside the local press club and torched a couple of the hand-carry ice boxes meant for keeping polio vaccines during the door-to-door campaign.
The protest disrupted the October 9-13 campaign in Hyderabad.
LHWY president Rukhsana Mughal, general secretary Raheela Shaikh told the media that 1,200 women workers and 200 other staff engaged in the anti-polio work had not been paid their salaries since July although they had been doing their jobs to the entire satisfaction of the authorities concerned.
They said they would not resume their work until they were assured of the disbursement of their dues.
During the protest, some of them revealed that they were being provided substandard or expired vaccines which were ineffective. “Such vaccines are distinguished by their (purple and dark purple) colours,” they said.
If the parents of the polio drops recipients knew the expired drops being administered, they resist vaccination violently, they said.
“We complained to the high-ups in the health department about the issue but no one paid heed to the issue or our grievance,” they claimed.
Deputy provincial coordinator of the national programme for family planning and primary healthcare Dr Saifullah Qaimkhani along with district health officer Dr Ghulam Mustafa Abbasi and other officials concerned visited the protesting lady health workers and listened to their grievances.
Dr Qaimkhani assured them that they would get their one month salary on Oct 14 and the remaining dues soon. On his assurance, the lady health workers ended their protest.
Dr Abbasi told the protesters that the claim about use of substandard or expired vaccines were investigated and found wrong.
Published by Daily Dawn on Oct 12, 2013