The Ministry of Health has failed to put over 2,000 health workers on government payroll, six months after a much publicised recruitment exercise.
The workers who include Nurses, Pharmacists and Environmental Health Technicians have been placed in various stations but have not received any salaries or allowances for over six months.
Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya confirmed that none of the recently recruited civil servants under the Ministry of Health has started getting paid.
Dr Chilufya however blamed the failure to pay the new workers on what he called administrative glitches.
“Yes we have not placed our new cadre of health workers on payroll yet, this is due to some administrative issues glitches,” he said.
He added, “The issue at the moment is merely administrative. The good part is that at policy level, we have agreed that we recruit these new health workers. Very soon all shall be sorted.”
Government announced in January that it is targeting to recruit 7,900 health workers in 2017.
But some affected health workers have since abandoned their new work stations, a situation which has paralysed health delivery systems in most parts of the country.
Some interviewed said they cannot continue working for free for over six months especially that they were posted to areas where they had no relatives.
“The expectation for most of us was that we will start getting something at least even after three months but we have gone for six months without receiving anything, even our settling in allowances have not come. So how do you expect me to survive in Kalabo for over six months without pay when my family is still in Lusaka?”, asked one of the affected Nurses who has since returned to Lusaka.
Other interviewed revealed that corruption and theft of drugs has now increased due to failure by Government to pay the new workers.
“It’s so frustrating because most of us are young people and these are our fist appointments and to be subjected to this by our own government is depressing,” they lamented.
Three Ministry of Health employees and two businessmen are appearing in the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court for stealing HIV test kits valued at K5,000, the property of the Government.