Friday, March 1, 2024

Inequities in Volunteer Recognition: A Plea from the Unemployed Doctors of Zambia


In a heartfelt expression of gratitude, I wish to extend our thanks to President Hakainde Hichilema for recognizing our collective efforts in combating the challenges faced by our country. The recognition bestowed upon us for our tireless efforts to aid the people of Zambia in the face of a profound struggle has been both humbling and appreciated.

President Hakainde Hichilema, I extend my sincere thanks for the opportunity given to us. The recognition of our determination to save lives and help our people is truly appreciated. However, with this acknowledgment comes a sense of responsibility to shed light on the overlooked contributions of our colleagues.
While I am grateful for the employment extended to us by the Ministry of Health, I find myself grappling with unanswered questions about the exclusion of many volunteers, particularly those stationed at Level One CTCs, Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital and The University Teaching Hospital. These dedicated individuals have been managing cholera long before the establishment of Levy CTC and Heroes Stadium CTC, and their omission raises concerns about the fairness of recognition.

The disparity in recognition raises questions about the perceived value of efforts in different cholera management centers. These Hospitals have long been managing cholera, even predating the establishment of Levy and Heroes Stadium CTCs. We have to raise the crucial question: why is the contribution of other volunteers seemingly deemed less significant? Could it be that the public display at the Heroes CTCs attracts more attention? Is the primary goal to garner public interest? Is this why our colleagues are being excluded?

I write to shed light on the pivotal role volunteers play in various hospitals, emphasizing that they are the frontline workers dealing with critical patients daily. Many of these volunteers operate in understaffed stations, unable to leave their posts to assist at cholera centers due to the potential dire consequences for patients left behind. Additionally, hospital administrators may see volunteers leaving as desertion, putting them at risk of punishment. The volunteers highlight the immense pressure faced by those managing everyday healthcare needs, including treating pregnant women, sick children, road traffic accident victims and patients with Covid-19, Heart Attacks, Cancer and Strokes.
President Hakainde Hichilema, your recognition is sincerely appreciated, and I believe you may not be fully aware of the prevailing situation faced by many volunteers on the frontlines. The intention is not to undermine your efforts but rather to initiate a conversation about the realities faced by every unemployed volunteer doctor in the country. We aim to prompt a reflection on whether some volunteers are deemed more important than others, emphasizing the significance of saving lives across a spectrum of medical conditions.

This is not a political statement but a respectful plea for acknowledgment and fair recognition of the dedication exhibited by all volunteers. It emphasizes the need for a broader conversation about the challenges faced by Unemployed Volunteer Doctors across Zambia.

Their contributions are invaluable. We are hopeful that President Hakainde Hichilema will lend his ear to the concerns of those who feel unheard and unseen on the frontlines of healthcare. Let this be a call to recognize and appreciate the efforts of all volunteers across the spectrum of healthcare challenges faced by our beloved Zambia.

A representative of the Unemployed Medical Doctors of Zambia


  1. Much as I appreciate the writers genuine concerns, he should understand that, 1. The government runs on a budget so they can only employ a certain number of people at a given time., 2. The President and everyone else knows about volunteer health workers and if it were possible, he would have hired all your friends., 3. Just sympathize with you friends and hope that their chance comes sooner or later.

    • This article is written by an idyot of new employee. Fire this idyot, it not make a good worker.
      How many good things your father did in society, did he get employed? How many players went to AFCON, did all play?
      Look you styupid idyot, take your white overcoat, go work peacefully and thank GOD that you are lucky, even though you didn’t do anything at Heroes stadium. Stop complaining you madafakas. So fvcking annoying citizens. HH need find better citizens, not these complainants.

    • @ lameck banda there’s no budget here unless you are telling us that the president had a vision that there was going to be cholera which will require volunteers. The decision was on the spur of the moment outside budget and staff establishments

    • Deja Vu

      There are sometimes exceptional circumstances when even you have no money…… has to be found.

      This is one of them……..

      Even on a domestic level , a household would have no money , but some how allowances would be made in times of necessity

    • Were we not told, by the not so able Masebo, that those who were currently working as volunteers in the health service would be given first priority during the massive recruitment drive that took place? So clearly that did not happen as expected, for whatever reasons, and this is what the writer is trying to express here! Why go searching for alternative resources when you already have abundant resources readily available at your disposal?

  2. Each govt has people who benefit, for me i benefited during the time of FTJ i started work in the Chiluba led govt and it was wonderful so it is during HH, some people should benefit it is normal and it is not a new thing.Kudos to HH.

  3. @Deja Vu. My exact sentiments…this dreaming up of posts in an already bloated civil service, which he himself recognises, shows the lack of foresight, logic and critical thinking in HH.

  4. ………

    The president did well in dreaming up posts for those volunteers……….

    It is high time we have recognition for people who put country and society before tribe and personal well being………..

    Their sacrifice is not in vain

    We hope this volunteering spirt is carried forward by the wider community for the betterment of country………..

    Let’s show volunteering for country has benifits so as to arrest the moral decay , selfishness and corruption that has ravaged our societies…..

    • This is exactly what he said. Infact he even cautioned against adulterating the lists by including those non volunteers. The minister was also clear that she was waiting for the registers from across the country.

  5. Unfortunately also the writer is a Doctor who is only concerned about Doctors and not other health workers… Didn’t won’t to volunteer ..just wants employment…poor fellow..

  6. They are worried that those who are stationed elsewhere other than Heroes are not recognised as distinguished volunteers.
    He asks:
    ‘Why is the contribution of other volunteers seemingly deemed less significant?
    Could it be that the public display at the Heroes attracts more attention?
    Is the primary goal to garner public interest?’
    The cry is that the idea may be a PR stunt.

  7. Interns have been working as volunteers for more than a year. They don’t get even a bottle of water to drink everything they have to buy even though they don’t get even an ngwee from government. Most work at least 6 days a week and at least one 36 hour shift in a week when on call. They have to buy their own food, equipment like gloves, lab coats, stethoscope, scrubs, masks etc etc from their own money. Accomodation rentals, electricity water and transport from their own money all this while saving lives but they are not considered. Now these volunteers have just come now. Everything from PPE etc is provided to them and they are immediately employed. We are not saying it’s wrong but at the same time even interns should be included not just these recent volunteers.

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