ISLAMABAD - Outraged over the killings of polio team members working on meagre salaries and contractual basis, the leady health workers (LHWs) converged in the federal capital and staged a sit-in in front of Prime Minister Secretariat to demand their regularisation and payment of the announced compensation for the victims.

On the occasion of National Working Women’s Day on Saturday, LHWs from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rawalpindi and Islamabad gathered in front of National Press Club (NPC) Saturday on the call of All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association (APLHWWA). From there they marched towards Prime Minster Secretariat and staged a sit-in in front of the PM Secretariat. They vowed that the daylong protest will continue for an indefinite period and they will not leave the venue till they get the notification of their regularisation.

The federal and provincial governments have announced Rs 1 million for the deceased and Rs 0.5 million for the injured polio workers that have not been paid to them yet. Along with the compensation, the family members of the victims should also be given jobs and the members of polio teams be given security who have been facing threats, demanded Bushra Arain, central chairperson of APLHWWA.

Malala was given a protocol but no official visited the victims of targeted attacks against polio vaccination teams. Even no one was ready to take the bodies of the female workers to the hospital that remained lying on the roads for hours. Moreover the injured workers are also not being given proper medical treatment, regretted a lady health worker.

Another LHW, Yasmeen from Islamabad, lamented that female workers during vaccination campaigns cannot take leaves and they go door to door to administer polio drops to children. They had to cover 150 to 250 children in a day and report back to the health units.

Leaving their own families back home and endangering their lives they go out for the health of other children. But in return they get nothing, only Rs 250 per day that are also not given on time and instead they are being killed and threatened.

They complained that workers of National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Healthcare have been struggling for the last four years for their regularisation and the case is being heard in the Supreme Court too but the government is not willing to regularize nearly 13000 workers who have been serving for the past 17 years.

Heavy security forces including female police and commandos were deployed to control over a hundred LHWs and to avert any untoward situation at PM secretariat. Senator and Member of Provincial Task Force for Polio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rubina Khalid who was negotiating with the workers said she has been negotiating with high officials and sought a time of two days from the protesters to resolve the issue of regularisation that is the real issue behind this protest.

Later on, the protest was called off due the death of Bashir Ahmad Bilour in an attack. The protesters announced that they would resort to protest and sit-in again if their demands were not met till December 31.