Karachi: One of the largest health facilities in Pakistan to treat heart patients - the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) - has resumed normal functioning from Thursday after a gap of three days as its employees ended their strike.
The paramedical and other support staff of the NICVD had been protesting mainly against the non-payment of special health risk allowance for the past two years. The health risk allowance was announced by the Sindh government for the staffers of the public health facilities in the province in view of their services during the ongoing coronavirus health emergency.
The strike and protest by the NICVD affected a large number of heart patients as people from almost all parts of Sindh and in some instances from the adjoining areas of Balochistan come to the facility to get health treatment free of charge.
The NICVD has been performing the highest number of primary angioplasties under one roof in the world in a calendar year.
Being a tertiary care public health facility, the NICVD has been one of the three major government-run hospitals in Karachi that have remained at the heart of an ongoing controversy between the federal and Sindh governments to get their administrative control.
Almost a decade back, the federal government devolved the administrative control of the three hospitals-NICVD, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, and National of Child Health in Karachi - to the provincial authorities in the line with the 18th Constitutional Amendment envisaging empowerment of the provincial governments.
The staffers complained despite the multi-billion annual budget of the health care facility they were being deprived of the health risk allowance as being their legitimate right. The doctors associated with the facility have been enjoying lucrative salary packages, the employees said.
They appealed to the Sindh Chief Minister to intervene in the issue and ensure immediate disbursal of the allowance to them. The protesting employees of the NICVD ended their strike and announced the resumption of duties after successfully holding talks with the management and district administration as they were assured of immediate resolution of their problems.