MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says government has allocated K930,154,000 to the recruitment of 11, 200 health workers countrywide.
And Masebo says the recruitment of health workers does not only mean doctors and nurses but also Dental Surgeons, midwives, Clinical Officers, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists and drivers, among others.
Rendering a ministerial statement on the roadmap of the recruitment process, Tuesday, Masebo said the recruitment was aimed at transforming the health sector.
“From the outset, Madam Speaker, I wish to state that I have not yet sought cabinet approval of what is contained in this statement. The aspirations guiding this statement are to respond to the questions raised on this floor regarding the recruitment of the 11,200 health workers, and to build consensus around the process. Madam Speaker, I am delighted to inform the House, and the Zambian people, that His Excellency, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the Republic of Zambia, promised that the New Dawn Government will this year provide for and support the recruitment of 11, 200 Health workers,” she said.
“Madam Speaker, the New Dawn administration has set the goal of achieving good health and well-being for all Zambians in keeping with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This unprecedented recruitment process will enhance health systems. As you are aware, Madam Speaker, Human Resource is at the pinnacle of effective Health Systems. The New Dawn administration has set out an allocation amounting to Nine Hundred and Thirty Million, One Hundred and Fifty – Four [Thousand] Kwacha (K930,154,000) to equitably employ and deploy 11,200 health workers countrywide in a bid to transform the health sector in real terms and achieve Universal Health Coverage.”
And Masebo said the recruitment of health workers did not only mean doctors and nurses.
“Madam Speaker, the House may wish to note that the current number of health workers in the health sector stands at 63, 838 against the approved establishment of 139, 590. This leaves a human resource gap of 75, 752 which represents 56% of the approved establishment. This dire situation has for a long time negatively affected the delivery of quality healthcare services to the Zambian people,” she said.
“Madam Speaker, with the recruitment of the 11,200 health workers, it is expected that the staffing levels of the Ministry of Health will increase from 63,838 (46%) to 75,038 (54%) of the approved establishment. I wish to emphasize that the recruitment of these health workers does not only mean doctors and nurses. Health workers include among others, Dental Surgeons, midwives, Clinical Officers, laboratory personnel, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Environmental health staff, mortuary attendants, Porters, Drivers, Cleaners and Security Guards. All these workers are equally important in the delivery of quality health services in the country.”
Masebo said that the Ministry would also utilize the process to normalise, through promotions, some of the longstanding challenges in terms of salaries in the sector.
“You may wish to know, Madam Speaker, that the Ministry will utilize this process to normalize, through promotions, some of the longstanding challenges. For example, some eligible Senior Resident Doctors that have been receiving salaries of Junior resident Doctors will have their plight resolved. Also, some of the Registered Midwives that have been receiving salaries of mere Registered Nurses will have their appropriate salaries resolved. Madam Speaker, I must hasten to mention here that the specific numbers regarding each carder per district shall be spelled out in the advert that shall run this month,” she said.
“Madam Speaker, Government is very much alive to the challenge of health workers that have specialized in various disciplines but are still occupying lower positions on the payroll due to lack of vacant and funded promotional positions. I am happy to inform the House and the nation at large that this problem, however, will be addressed during the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).”
And Masebo said the government had established Human Resource Committees that would spearhead the process as a way of enhancing transparency.
“Madam Speaker, I am glad to report to this House and the nation at large that in order to enhance transparency and fairness in the recruitment process, the Government, through the Civil Service Commission, has established Human Resource Committees at District and Provincial levels. These committees, with specific terms of reference, are multi-sectoral in nature and will spearhead this recruitment process,” she said.
“In this regard, the District Human Resource Committees, in collaboration with other Government entities, will create a database of all applicants, scrutinize the various applications received within their respective districts, shortlist, select and recommend to the Provincial Human Resource Committees. The Provincial Human Resource Committees will then validate the work and, through the Ministry of Health, recommend it to the Civil Service Commission. In undertaking these processes, preference will be given to applicants that have done volunteer work at public health facilities. This, however, does not mean that applicants that have not had the opportunity to volunteer at any of the public health facilities will be precluded from the recruitment process.”
Masebo said the Civil Service Commission would scrutinize all the recommendations made by the Provincial Human Resource Committees before appointing the successful candidates.
“The Ministry of Health headquarters will work with Public Service Management Division and Regulatory bodies in ensuring that the recommendations received from the Provincial Human Resource Committees are in conformity with the required human resource best practices. The Civil Service Commission will scrutinize all the recommendations made by the Provincial Human Resource Committees before appointing the successful candidates. The successful candidates will be expected to report for duty in April 2022,” Masebo said.
“Once the appointments are made by the Civil Service Commission, the names of all successful candidates will be published in the state print media. The respective districts will also be required to stick the names of the successful candidates in the various categories. This will enable the public to remain informed and successful candidates to keep track of the timeframe within which to report to their respective stations.”
Meanwhile, Masebo said those who would be involved in illegalities during the recruitment process would face the law.