Thursday, October 07, 2010

NGOCC urges govt to address plight of doctors

NGOCC urges govt to address plight of doctors
By Salim Dawood
Thu 07 Oct. 2010, 10:30 CAT

Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) executive director Engwase Mwale has demanded that government quickly looks into the plight of doctors as having a de-motivated and uninspired medical personnel was not helpful to the country.

Resident doctors had gone on a week-long strike demanding an upward adjustment of their salaries and also complained of receiving their K560, 000 monthly housing allowances late among other problems.

The doctors at the nation’s main hospital, the University Teaching Hospital, have also complained about lack of equipment which besides their low salaries has also added to their demotivation.

Commenting on the residents doctors move to resume work despite stating that they were still de-motivated and unhappy, Mwale commended the resident doctors describing their decision as humane and noble.

“First and foremost we would love to commend the move that has been taken by the resident doctors as a noble and humane response to the plight of many people that have suffered during the period of the strike,” she said.

Mwale said the move by resident doctors was gratifying especially that despite the challenges which they have continued to face during their course of duty, the doctors prioritised serving lives as they still continued to pursue on their demands.

“But most importantly, in recognizing this move, we still emphasise as NGOCC that as a country we need to prioritise issues of health access because it is one thing having doctors resuming work despite being highly de-motivated because this will have repercussions in the level of service that they provide,” she said.

“This is not to say that as organisation we have doubts in what the resident doctors will be able do to during this period but I think it is only human that their level of service must be equated with what the health sector is actually providing to them. We must enable them and equip them to be able to carry out their duties accordingly.”

She said it was important that government recognised that having a de-motivated and uninspired medical personnel would not be helpful in the country.
Mwale said the country had seen a lot of the country’s medical personnel leaving the country for better offers elsewhere and that if government that would continue to be the case if government did not permanently address the plight of the doctors.

“So it is actually imperative that as the doctors are going back to work government must still remain resolute to be able to address their plight in order to ensure that this is not a temporal. I think there is need for government and all interested stakeholders to be able to find a longer term solution towards the various challenges being faced by our medical personnel,” she said.

On chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasaha’s statement that the resident doctors were being used by the opposition to discredit government achievement in the health sector, Mwale said the doctor’s plight was something very serious that must not be trivialized by relating it to politics.

She said for any service provider in our country to provide efficient and effective service there was need for equipment regardless of where one is working.

“So if the resident doctors are subjected to inadequate availability of better tools for them to be able to attend to patients, for us as NGOCC we find this demand as noble because how do we expect them to be able to provide a service to people that are seeking health services,” he said.

She said the country’s economy was growing and government was on record announcing that the economy was doing well and as such needed to urgently tackle the plight of the doctors and the health sector as a whole.

In calling off their strike on Monday, Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) acting president Dr Amon Ngongola said the health practitioners were still hopeful that President Rupiah Banda would address their plea.

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