After several demonstrations of lady health workers (LHW) to protest over their pending salaries of five months, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Wednesday announced to release their salaries for two months. It is expected they will receive the remuneration in a day or two. The provincial government, however, has yet to make appointments on the 1,746 posts of LHWs lying vacant across the province due to financial constraints. Talking to The Express Tribune , LHW Provincial Coordinator Dr Tahir Nadeem Khan said the health department has taken a loan of Rs286 million from the provincial government to pay the salaries of LHWs. ”There are 12,620 LHWs currently working in the province and the total expenditure of their salaries is Rs1.8 million per month,“ Khan said, adding they have paid salaries of two months from the loan while the rest of the amount will be used for office expenditure and transport. He also shared they have asked the federal government to release another Rs286 million so they can pay rest of the due salaries. On December 26, 2013 , hundreds of LHWs blocked GT Road for several hours to protest against non-payment of salaries. They also threatened to boycott the next provincial polio vaccination drive if their salaries were not released by January 15 . Abysmal conditions On January 1, 2013 , the Supreme Court ordered the federal and provincials governments to regularise lady health supervisors, lady health workers, accounts supervisors, drivers and workers of the family planning health care programme. According to this order, the posts that may become vacant shall stand abolished for the purpose of federal funding by provincial government. Similarly, any new creation of posts/opportunities for future need will be financed by the provinces from their own budget/resources. In a year’s span, the number of LHWs in K-P has decreased to 12,620 from 14,366 while the provincial government is not in a position to rehire on these vacant posts due to a lack of funds. Presently, the 12,620 LHWs cater to 55% of the province’s total population. An official of the health department, requesting anonymity, said 300 out of 650 vehicles of the national programme for family planning and primary health care are out of order and cannot be fixed until the required funds are released.
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