ISLAMABAD, April 6 (Xinhua) -- At least 34 patients died due to unavailability of medical treatment as the strike by young doctors entered the 37th day on Wednesday in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab and some other parts of the country.
Over a month, health care system has been paralyzed across the province of Punjab as young doctors have been observing a protest to pressurize the government for an immediate raise in their salaries.
During the strike, doctors fully avoided to attend the patients of Out Patient Department and emergency patients, leaving thousands of patients suffering around the province.
Patients and their attendants felt extremely disappointed over the lack of treatment and they had to return without treatment from these public hospitals. They were seen running from pillar to post to get the desired treatment for their patients, while some had to take their patients to private hospitals.
The Punjab government has given ultimatum twice to the protesting doctors to call off the strike but was flouted by the doctors who are still on roads. So far no arrest has been made in Rawalpindi while many get the termination notice.
The government sacked some junior doctors and deployed around 500 doctors to facilitate people with medical facilities.
By Wednesday, young doctors in Islamabad and Sialkot have ended their protest and resumed services, but strike in Rawalpindi continued.
Police, in heavy contingent, are still present at the main hospitals in the garrison city after they were deployed the other day when the Punjab government decided to take strict action against the protesting doctors.
The doctors have demanded that the authorities remove police immediately from the hospitals saying that the government tactics to harass the doctors will bear no fruit that are bound to fail and vowed to continue their strike till the acceptance of their demands and are ready to give any sacrifice.
However, the district authorities and hospital administration of these hospitals said that all the services in the city hospitals are functioning smoothly. The patients in emergency are being provided proper medical care while the routine operations are being delayed.
The junior doctors have so far succeeded in mustering support from certain quarters that include senior doctors and medical teachers association. The doctors are demanding of the government an increment in salaries, to raise in health budget, a 100 percent rise in paid seats of all trainee doctors including medical officers, post graduate, house officers, and a revision of their service structure.