Bravo doctors!

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 15:05:16 +0000

WE congratulate the Residents Doctors Association of Zambia for its maturity and sense of patriotism in calling off the 10-day strike it intended to stage from yesterday. When it comes to matters of life and death, doctors have the professional and moral latitude to do the right thing.

In the first place there was no need for a strike by the resident doctors. Yes, they have challenges in their work and living quarters but a strike was totally uncalled for. What they needed was administrative action by the University Teaching Hospital management to attend to their complaints.

It is surprising that the strike was instigated by the resident doctors’ association branch at UTH and had no blessing of the national association leadership and the entire union membership throughout the country.

The UTH branch cannot decide to impose its will on the entire membership of the association or usurp the powers of the national leadership and call for a strike without consultation or a call for a national strike ballot.

The UTH branch of the association must understand that medical personnel, especially doctors and nurses, are essential workers who in fact are forbidden by law to go on strike just to push for a certain advantage from their employers.

They must learn to exhaust channels of communication and where need be give sufficient warning to Government and the general public that they intended to go on strike and give reasons why a strike is the last option.

That is why we commend the courage and patriotism of the Resident Doctors Association of Zambia executive for nipping the strike action in the bud and putting their foot down that there will be no go-slow or full blown doctors’ strike at UTH or anywhere else.

It is quite obvious that the mother body of the association was embarrassed by the UTH branch’s irresponsible decision to undertake such a serious disruption of medical services without giving notice and taking time to consider the consequences of what could have been a wildcat strike.

We are delighted the Government, who may not have been aware of the concerns by the UTH resident doctors, have indicated that they will look into their grievances and seek to find a solution. This shows the employer holds the doctors in high esteem and will do everything possible to ensure that their concerns are attended to without delay.

Doctors need a peace of mind to do their job competently and efficiently. That is why the UTH management must sit down with the leadership of the UTH branch and resident doctors association to find out what the doctors are complaining about. These are our own trained personnel whom we must look after very well for them to continue rendering specialist services which the people of Zambia badly done.

There is no reason why a doctor from the University of Zambia Medical School in Lusaka or the Copperbelt University must take six months to put be on the Government payroll. As we speak 200 doctors are waiting to be put on payroll so that they can receive their monthly salary at a bank of their choice.

Just what is causing the hiccup? Why only 30 doctors have so far been put on the payroll? How are the doctors expected to survive and work efficiently without salary and being owed so much money in salary arrears?

These are the issues the Ministry of Health and the UTH management must resolve without delay. We cannot allow incompetence and impunity to hold the UTH to ransom.


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