About 150 medical Doctors affiliated to the Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) who were employed in November last year have not been put on government payroll yet, News Diggers! has learned.
And in an interview, RDAZ president Dr Alinani Silwamba admitted that only 12 out of over 150 members of his association had been included on the government payroll, but said his association had been engaging the Ministry of Health to ensure that all Doctors who were employed last year start getting paid.
One of the affected doctors who sought anonymity recalled that government gave an assurance last November during recruitment that all newly recruited doctors would be included on the payroll in January 2018 after the approval of the new budget.
“We were employed in November last year by government, over 150 doctors. When we were employed, we were told to say we may not get our December salaries because the budget had already been approved. So people accepted and we were assured that by January this year, we would start getting paid because it was a new year under a new budget. But now this is the fourth month since we were employed, there are over 150 doctors who are working everyday but are not getting paid and generally, the younger doctors are the ones whom the senior doctors abuse at the hospital for everything,” the doctor complained.
“The senior doctors are the people who are in the forefront, when a patient comes, its the junior doctor, doctors only come to the hospital once a while to check how patients are responding but it’s the junior doctors who attend to the patients from the time that they are brought into the hospital until the time that they are discharged.”
The doctor said the situation affected doctors at various hospitals across the country, including the University Teaching Hospital, Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and Ndola Teaching Hospital.
“We have Doctors at UTH, Levy, Ndola. All these doctors who were employed last November are not getting paid. Every time we have complained to our seniors, they have just been saying that we cannot take this matter to the media because it would be very embarrassing on the part of the ministry and that the President will get furious. So it’s something that we have had to endure everyday. Imagine working the whole day and then sometimes you sleep at the hospital but you still have to get back to your apartment on an empty belly,” complained the victim.
Dr Alinani confirmed the claims from his members but assured them that the association was engaging the ministry to resolve the issue.
“That’s actually an ongoing issue and the truth is, of all the doctors that were employed last year, only very recently and that was the month end that just passed, there were 12 doctors put on the payroll. Word [from the Ministry of Health] is that only one more will be added to the 12. so in excess of a 100 doctors, possibly approaching 200 who were employed last year in November are still not on the payroll and we are still engaging with Ministry of Health on the same issue. This is a very depressing issue to the membership because there is no definite deadline from Ministry of Health to say this is when everyone is going to be put on the payroll. This is very difficult for our members, that much we know and we more than sympathise with them. We stand with them as we try to get them all on the payroll, and we are not just getting them on the payroll but getting them their arrears,” said Dr Alinani.
“So the number of doctors who are not on the payroll is 158. There were 180 Doctors in total who were employed in November last year, and only 12 have been put on payroll. But that number might change because we expect the Ministry of Health to put some more this month end, though they have not communicated to us exactly what that number is going to be.”