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Pharmacist panel seeks 4,000 posts

LAHORE- The Punjab chapter of Pakistan Pharmacist Association has demanded of the government to create some 4,000 new posts for pharmacists besides health professional allowance and drug testing laboratories of international standard.

Talking to the media at Lahore Press Club on Thursday, PPA President Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad, Secretary-General Furqan Hashmi and central leader Hafiz Farooq Awan announced launching agitation outside the Chief Minister`s House followed by a hunger strike camp at the Punjab Assembly if their demands were not accepted.

Drug inspectors Tahir Khan, Bilal Yasin and hospitals` pharmacists including Amina Rehman, Nadia Qamar, Mahpara Noor and Malik Irshad were also present on the occasion.

The PPA Punjab chapter representspharmacists working as drug inspectors, drug controllers and drug analysts.

The PPA leaders expressed their concern at the deteriorating financial issues saying that the Punjab government was ignoring the pharmacists who were actual custodian of medicines in public as well as private sector health facilities besides medical stores and pharmacies.

Prof Bashir said: `Pharmacists are an integral part of health delivery system and without them the goal of health for all cannot be achieved. The profession of pharmacy is considered a life-saving profession worldwide but unfortunately the pharmacists have no role in the policy making process at national and provincial levels in Pakistan.

He said the federal government had announced on Feb 23 professional allowancefor all the health professionals which was equal to the running basic salary of each professional.

He demanded that the Punjab government give same incentive to pharmacists working in state-run hospitals.

PPA Secretary-General Furgan Hashmi said the government should increase number of seats and announce non-practicing allowance (NPA) for pharmacists.

He said after the Punjab Institute of Cardiology scam the pharmacists had demanded establishment of drug testing labs of international standard to avoid such incidents in future but the government paid no heed to their repeated requests.

`After the 18th amendment, the central drug testing laboratory and central pharmacy council should be shifted to thePunjab capital,` he said.

Furgan Hashmi lamented that the apex court had directed the provincial governments to ensure one pharmacist for 50 beds but no measures were taken in this regard so far.

PARAMEDICS: Protest by paramedics continued on the ninth consecutive day on Thursday as they observed strike at public sector hospitals besides staging rallies for service structure.

Under the banner of the Punjab Paramedics Alliance Class-IV, the paramedics had launched agitation to press the government for service structure and regularisation of contract and daily-wages employees.

On Thursday, they denied healthcare to the patients of indoor and outdoor departments, and closed some diagnostic depart-ments, including laboratories, CT Scan, Xray and MRI sections.

Later they staged separate rallies from teaching hospitals, including General Hospital, Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Jinnah Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Two lower-cadre employees fell unconscious while agitating outside the PIC due to scorching heat and were taken to a nearby hospital.

Addressing the participants in the rally, PPA leaders Malik Munir, Rehmat Sindhu and Kafaytullah demanded of the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the discrimination meted out to lower-cadre employees of the health department by the Punjab government.

They vowed to continue their protest till the acceptance of their demands.

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