PESHAWAR: The future of the employees of the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) is in jeopardy while the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led government seems unable to resolve their issue. The PPHI employees have been on strike since last Friday, pressing the government to withdraw the notification it issued for the wind-up of the project, to ensure their regularisation and to merge the project with the health department. Talking to Daily Times, the provincial president Gul Nawaz Khan, who is also PPHI District Support Manager (DSM) in Malakand Agency, said that the PPHI project was launched in Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf’s era. It later came under the purview of the prime minister after being approved by the federal cabinet.Gul Nawaz said the project was extended to other parts of the country, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, because of its success in Punjab. He said that the PPP-led government in Sindh took concrete steps to regularise PPHI staff in 2008 after having seen development in the province’s health sector. Before launching the programme in KP, most basic health units (BHUs) lay useless as there were no doctors, paramedics or medicines to put them to good use. He said that the provincial government also launched Independent Monitoring Units (IMU) to make sure health care was provided to people in a transparent manner. He added that the reports submitted by the IMU to the government in 2016 revealed that the performance of the PPHI was twice as impressive as that of the government health department. Damsaz Khan Marwat, social organiser, saidthat most of the BHUs in Lakki Marwat district were in miserable conditions before the PPHI took over the project. “The BHU’s were equipped with medical officers, paramedical staff, lady health workers, peons and watchmen, medicines, and electricity after the PPHI took over,” he remarked.The Provincial Senior Minister for Health Sharam Khan Tarakai told Daily Times that the provincial government handed over the PPHI project to the provincial semi-government organisation, Sarhad Rurul Support Programme (SRSP). He said that the contract was signed by the SRSP and PPHI and there was no role of the government or the health department in the whole affair, adding that the provincial government had held regular correspondences with the SRSP urging them not to wind up the project. He warned that would result in large numbers of people becoming jobless, and deprive remote communities of access to quality health care. Since the PPHI’s protest, no ministers or lawmakers have expressed solidarity with them except Awami National Party (ANP) MPA Jaffar Ali Shah and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Amina Sardar. The latter assured them that she would raise the issue on the floor as she had paid visits to various far-flung hospitals in her constituencies and found the hospitals to be far better than those being run by the district health officer.The PPHI are holding another sit-in today (Saturday) in front of the Chief Minister House after they failed to get any attention from the government or lawmakers during their weeklong sit-in in front of the Provincial Assembly.