Nurses are not valued in Zambia


Dear Editor.

Allow me space in your news paper to express my observations in our profession “nursing”. Please with held my names. I have observed with deep regret that nursing education is not appreciated in our country. Education is very expensive and needs commitment by the one pursuing it hence the need to appreciate it by employers. This is not the case with nursing education, in nursing someone can upgrade from Enrolled nursing to registered nursing but will continue getting paid as an Enrolled nurse without upgrading his/her salary scale or if it is to be upgraded it has to take not less than 5 to 10 years. The worst is if someone has upgraded from Enrolled nursing to Enrolled midwifery, from registered nursing to registered midwifery, registered operating theatre nursing, registered ophthalmic nursing, registered critical care nursing or registered clinical instructor nursing all these fields are not recognised in terms of upgrading the salary scale. Some have died while others have retired without their salary scales been upgraded and they end up getting their retirement package for a lower salary scale. All what we get is that we do not have paid vacancies for these programs. What bothers me is that since time in memorial our government has failed to open these vacancies and yet they are opening some other new programs. What I do not understand is whether the government see the need of us doing these programs or not. We need to be upgraded in salary scale upon finishing training, we go to school to better our lives and this can only be done by changing our salary scale. As I am writing this article there are a lot of nurses who have done degree in nursing but still getting paid as Enrolled nurse or Registered nurse depending on the position they were first employed on. To talk about specialty programs there are less than 1/8 lack ones who have been considered for upgrading their salary scales. I feel this is the reason we have now been put on the same salary scale with CDEs because our education is not appreciated.

Our ministry is the only ministry where someone can work for more than 10 years without been appointed or confirmed by the PSMD. Appointment or confirmation does not need money but surprisingly our ministry fails to do so with the reason best known to themselves.

More confusion has been created by the dividing of the ministry where now the newly created ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health has even gone to an extent of failing to sponsor people who have gone to school while their counterparts Ministry of Health is sponsoring. This is in a view of nurses doing a same program and learning in the same class but those under the ministry of health are sponsored while those under Community Development Mother and Child Health are not in the name that the ministry does not have money to sponsor students. Now it means we are having different conditions of service as Nurses despite doing the same course depending on which ministry has employed you. Furthermore files are missing while being transferred from Ministry of Health to Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health. If you go to Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health you are told your file has not yet been transferred to here check with ministry of Health and when you go to ministry of health you are told your file was sent to Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health. This is the confusion which is there right now.

I therefore urge the minister of health and his counterpart minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health to issue a comprehensive statement in parliament on these issues. ZUNO is aware of our problems as Nurses but it is doing nothing to help. Editor you can carry out your own investigations to verify these issues. Our ministry does not value a nurse.


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