And Resident Doctors have condemned the PF regime for firing nurses saying the result is the same if not worse than nurses being on strike as there are no nurses to attend to patients..
Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) said firing of health workers has never been and will never be a solution to the ills currently being experienced in the health sector.
‘It must be mentioned that, the state of affairs experienced in the past week when nurses went on a stand off, will continue by the action by Government to fire them. UTH can not continue running on skeleton nursing staff from the defense force, let alone student nurses,’ a statement from doctors reads.
When Sata was minister of health under Chiluba, he fired doctors for demanding better pay and hired expatriate Cuban doctors ate great expense to the country.
‘It is not long ago when government took a similar stance on Medical doctors. It must be known that as a country we lost many doctors to other countries and we have not been able to recover either in numbers or in motivation of medical doctors’, said Resident doctors.
‘We therefore urge government to rescind its decision for the sake of the poor Zambian who seek medical services from our hospitals’, the doctors further said.
Meanwhile, the opposition UPND says it is the process of taking government to court for firing nurses and creating a health risk to the entire nation.
The opposition party say it is doing this especially that president Michael Sata has a history of firing medical personal even from his days as Health Minister under late Frederick Chiluba.
UPND deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba accused president Sata’s government of being worse that Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Shoprite Checkers and other companies that wanted to dismiss their protesting and striking workers.
“History cannot keep repeating itself under Mr. Sata because he is again the same one who fired medical doctors when they demanded for better pay during late Chiluba’s government when he was Health Minister.
He said the nurses and other health workers strike was not illegal as alleged by the PF government because it was the result of the PF reckless statements and promises to the health workers.
“How can they say it is an illegal strike when the PF recklessly promised these essential workers better conditions of service and got votes and praises for the same. This is treachery of the highest kind and even worse to describe them as mere garden boys and maids as Mr. Sata did in Mansa,” Mr. Simusamba said.
He said UPND will stand with the dismissed nurses and is currently studying their letters with a view to putting up an injunction to restrain government from firing them.
“We appreciate that these are essential workers that are looking after the healthy of many of our people and any disruption to their input cannot be encouraged. As UPND, we are not encouraging any strikes in any sector, let alone the healthy sector. But this one is a result of careless and irresponsible statements and promises by the PF regime,” he said.
Mr. Simusamba said it was not the nurses that demanded for 200 percent salary increments, but the PF government offered that amount on their own.
“Sometimes it is important to swallow ones pride and apologise when you have failed. These nurses are human beings and would have understood if the PF went back and told them they could not afford what they promised instead of being arrogant all the time,” he said.