Monday, March 24, 2014

Dismissals will worsen health situation - TALC
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Mon 09 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign says the decision by the government to fire all nurses that took part in the strike will only exacerbate the already worsened situation, especially at UTH.

And Mwanza says the government will do well to learn from what transpired in the late Fredrick Chiluba's administration where health personnel were fired and it was the ordinary members of the public who suffered in return.

TALC country director Felix Mwanza said one nurse would now be required to attend to about 50 patients with some even sleeping on the floor.
Mwanza expressed shock that the government and management at UTH, Mwanawasa and Livingstone Hospitals decided to go ahead and fire nurses and midwives following what government is calling an 'illegal' strike that they participated in.

"While as an organisation are alive to the fact that during the sitting in period by the nurses, members of the general public were treated to untold miseries that may even have resulted in loss of lives of our people, firing this important cadre of health personnel is not a solution," he said.

He said Zambia cannot run away from the fact that her hospitals and clinics had an acute shortage of health personnel who are mainly nurses and midwives.

Mwanza said if the government does not rescind its decision on the fired nurses and unconditionally reinstate them, then the government was also telling Zambians that they should as well forget about achieving millennium development goals 4, 5 and 6.

"Further, significant steps recorded in reducing maternal and child mortality will come under heavy scrutiny as the government's move is certainly a minus on the gains made this far," he said.

He reminded both the government and management at these institutions, that it was failure and lack of foresight that has resulted into this situation.

"Therefore, like in any other human equation, both sides must be magnanimous enough to take the problem and inflicting punishment on one side is not only symptomatic of a kneejerk reaction at the eleventh hour but one that does not inspire hope," he said.

Mwanza said their view as an organisation, whose membership had greatly benefited from the services of essential health workers, is that the government rescinds its decision and unconditionally reinstate the fired nurses.

He said Zambia as a country was already under a lot of stress and adding on other issues that amount to job losses would only worsen the already despicable situation in our health institutions.

"We are however, hopeful that being a listening and pro-poor government, they will reverse this decision," said Mwanza.

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