Three children die at Karachi's NICH as strike by healthcare providers continues.

KARACHI -- Three patients died at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) on Tuesday as healthcare providers continued their boycott of health services across Sindh while police detained over a dozen paramedics and nurses trying to march on the Chief Minister's House.

The stand-off between the police and protesters led to a traffic chaos as the law enforcers closed Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road and other adjoining roads leading towards the CM House.

Sources said medical workers under the umbrella of the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) gathered outside the Karachi Press Club in large numbers in the morning and raised slogans for their demands. Later, they moved towards the Sindh Secretariat where they staged a sit-in.

But when some of the protesters attempted to move towards the CM House, the police had to intervene, said SSP-South Syed Asad Raza.

'The police took action and detained around 15 protesters, including five female nurses, who were later released. The 10 male protesters would likely be released soon,' he said, adding that senior health officials were engaged in negotiations with the GHA protesters representing young doctors, paramedics, nurses and other health workers.

But Dr Faizan Memon of the Young Doctors Association, part of the GHA alliance, said the talks with the government officials had not yielded any positive outcomes so far.

'It has been over a month that young doctors and paramedics have been protesting, but the government hasn't shown any interest in our genuine demands. During this time, the government has held two meetings of the Sindh Cabinet, but our demands were not taken up.'

The main demand, Dr Memon pointed out, pertained to the Covid-19 risk allowance which the government had been withholding since the last month.

'Another demand is related to creating vacancies for dentists. Over the last 15 years, the Sindh government hasn't announced vacancies for dentists despite the fact that more than 5,000 dentists are jobless.'

The protesters were also demanding improvement in the service structure and a promotion policy.

Deaths at NICH

While poor patients across Sindh have been facing inexplicable difficulties for over a month due to healthcare providers' protest, sources described the situation at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) as 'very serious'.

The institute is the largest tertiary care government hospital for children in Karachi catering to needs of patients from all over Sindh as well as Balochistan...

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