Better to die with COVID-19 than hunger: PMDC employees

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD: The employees of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) have started their silent protest at homes amid lockdown in the face of deadly Coronavirus in protest against what they called the indifferent attitude of Special Assistant and Secretary of National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza towards the settlement of their issue that made life hell for them due to severe financial constraints.

The employees, in their heart-wrenching video messages to the media, recorded their protest to apprise the government and other concerned quarters pertaining to bitter situation and financial constraints being faced by them amid the alarming upsurge in the deadly Coronavirus cases.

The employees of the PMDC said that they have been fighting for their jobs for the last five months which the government has taken away from them on their personal vested interests and to facilitate the private medical and dental college’s mafia.

The Registrar PMDC Brigadier (retd) Dr. Hafizuddin Ahmed Sadiqque said that almost 250 employees of PMDC and their families are suffering badly and even one of our employees has lost his child a few days ago due to having no resources for the treatment.

He said that the rest of the employees was helpless with their poor financial condition. “It is alas very painful to see 250 families crying and suffering. What COVID -19 has to do with them when they are already dying due to hunger,” he added.

An employee who has worked as a peon for 10 years named Salamat who is also a disabled person said, “We all are in very bad condition as we have given deducted basic salaries which have been enough for only one or two months due to the high inflation in the country.”

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He said, “I started selling vegetables and fruits to run my house with 3 kids and old mother but now due to COVID-19 I am not able to even go out to earn money as I am the only breadwinner of the house and have asthma.”

“Me and my family are starving hard as it’s better to die with COVID-19 than seeing children die with hunger.” He questioned Prime Minister Imran Khan and Dr Zafar Mirza that if the Court has revived PMDC then why the government is resisting to reinstate them.

Another employee Zubair Bhutto who is an assistant and worked in PM&DC for 15 years said he didn’t get a penny as salary as he took a loan last year.

He said he has an old parent, one widow sister and 2 kids. He questioned the Premier that if he is so concerned about the laborers and daily wage employees but why he is not taking notice of the injustice and biased attitude of Dr Zafar Mirza towards PMDC employees.

He appealed the Chief justice of Pakistan to help PM&DC employees in this matter. He said “Our families are suffering and we have no hope from the Ministry of National Health Services as despite the landmark decision of the court the government is using delaying tactics to open PMDC.”

The Registrar PMDC said that the rest of the employees are helpless with their poor financial condition. “It is alas very painful to see 250 families crying and suffering. What COVID -19 has to do with them when they are already dying due to hunger.”

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He said that PMDC is a very prestigious organization and the only body to regulate the medical-dental fraternity but unfortunately it has been ruined.

At the moment 15,000 new pass out doctors could have been inducted in house jobs which are sitting uselessly at homes just due to closure of PMDC.

He added around 50,000 doctors are not able to renew their registrations and these doctors could have been very helpful in this situation.

It is quite unfair at the end of the government for avoiding to implement the decision of the Islamabad high court to reinstate PMDC.