Friday, February 23, 2024

Doctors Defend Their Right to Have More Than One Job Amid Minister’s Attacks

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Zambia’s Othopeadic and Trauma Association has demanded an apology from Sylvia Masebo, the Minister of Health, following her verbal attack on health workers, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The association is angered by Masebo’s confrontational approach and the erosion of public confidence in Zambia’s health system. The incident that sparked the outcry occurred on May 11, 2023, at Kitwe Teaching Hospital, where a senior medical doctor and government official was publicly dressed down by Masebo.

In a statement, the Zambia Othopeadic and Trauma Association stated that it is wrong to attack health workers, who are putting their lives on the line, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They called on the minister to stop demonizing health workers and to adopt a professional and evidence-driven approach to solving health problems.

Doctors demanding an apology from the Sylvia Masebo, over what they describe as “wanton verbal abuse and harassment of health workers.” The call for an apology was made by the Zambia Orthopaedic and Trauma Association (ZOTA) after the public dressing down of a senior medical doctor who is a hospital head and government official at the Kitwe Teaching Hospital.

“We will not sit idly watching the wanton verbal abuse and harassment of health workers,” said ZOTA President, Dennis Sakala. “We wish to register our concern over the wanton attacks on health workers by the minister of health. We find it most unfortunate that the Honourable Minister has continued to attack and undermine her own ministry.”

Sakala also addressed the issue of doctors having more than one job, which has been a source of contention between health workers and the government. “We wish to state to the minister that there is nothing wrong with doctors having more than one job as long as deliverables are met at their places of work,” he said. “The practice of having more than one job is not unique to Zambia, it is the norm in many other countries. Doctors, like other workers, have needs that cannot be met by a government salary alone.”

Sakala continued, “What they do after hours is their business. We do not see the need for anyone, regardless of their social, political, religious or economic status, to disparage our medical doctors. The doctors that are being disparaged are the same ones that put their lives on the line at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic during which time we lost some of the finest doctors (and nurses) in the line of duty. The least the minister or anyone else would do is to be grateful.”

ZOTA’s president went on to express his disappointment with the minister’s confrontational approach towards health workers, saying, “We strongly detest the confrontational approach by the minister of health against doctors and other health workers, including nurses and pharmacists. We have noted with great concern the tendency by the minister to use incomplete information to build narratives to demonize health workers.”

Sakala stressed the importance of public confidence in Zambia’s health system and criticized the minister’s actions for eroding that confidence. “We contend that the most important component of any health system is public confidence in it,” he said. “We find it most unfortunate that the minister is in the forefront of eroding the confidence of the public in Zambia’s health system by her underhand antagonistic approach. The bias against Zambian health workers is most unfortunate.”

ZOTA is now calling for a more professional and evidence-driven approach from the minister. “What we expect from the minister is a professional, evidence-driven, and inclusive approach to finding solutions to our health problems,” said Sakala. “Playing to the gallery will not move the needle. We hope that the minister will have a conciliatory approach to leading her own ministry and we expect to see nothing short of an improvement and a greater degree of professionalism in her approach in dealing with her own Ministry of Health.”

Sakala concluded his statement by reaffirming ZOTA’s support for health workers and their continued efforts to provide quality healthcare to the people of Zambia. “We will not sit idly watching the wanton verbal abuse and harassment of health workers,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with all health workers and will continue to fight for their rights and dignity.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. I support you and if my trade was in demand I would be doing the same. Masebo’s salary and allowances are enough to feed Sikanze Camp for a month. She doesn’t see what we’re going through.

  2. Masebo is going through menopause. Excuse are erratic behaviour. She is mentally unstable. We miss Dr chilufya.

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  3. A serious disregard of the health profession to cover up the actual issues of drugs procurement. For how long we heard of drugs soon coming from Egypt. And now shes talking about India. A lost case like Lungu. Covering her incompetencies by pointing a finger at hardworking HCPs.

    If Bally was genuine, Masebo would see his boot.

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  4. Arguing on the basis of them earn little doesn’t hold water. because there so many government workers who earn a little but have one job. the Teachers and other Civil servant. argue to say Doctors need to practice in so many field in order to expose themselves to different medical conditions or situations. hence, not them working in one hospital. but should balance their time nicely.

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