RESIDENT Doctors Association of Zambia president Dr Brian Sampa has resigned from the public service with immediate effect, citing threats to his job as he advocated for better health services in the country.
On March 29, 2022, Dr Sampa was found guilty of the offence of Absenteeism from work without authority following the Human Resource Disciplinary Committee Meeting, and it was recommended that he be dismissed from the civil service.
“Following the Human Resource Disciplinary Committee Meeting, which was held at Lusaka Provincial Health Office Boardroom on 29th March, 2022, the Provincial Disciplinary Committee found you guilty of the offence of Absenteeism for a continuous period of 10 or more days without authority. I wish to inform you that the Disciplinary Committee recommended that you be dismissed for Absenteeism from work without authority for more than 10 consecutive working days in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of Service for the Public Service. If you are not satisfied with the recommendations made by the Committee, you are advised to channel your appeal through the Permanent Secretary- Administration, Ministry of Health within 14 days of receipt of this minute,” the letter read.
But Dr Sampa decided to resign instead.
In his resignation letter dated April 7, 2022, Dr Sampa said he arrived at the decision after serious meditation about the environment he had been working in while advocating for quality health services.
“I wish to refer you to the above-named subject. I arrived at this decision after serious meditation about the environment I have been working under while advocating for quality health services. The constant threats on my job have rendered it a liability for the execution of my duties. I wish to thank the President for according me a second chance to serve my people in the public sector. I wish to state that I shall continue serving the people of Zambia in the most diligent way possible,” he said.
And in an interview, Dr Sampa said he opted to resign instead of fighting a losing battle.
“That letter is asking me to exculpate myself within two weeks. Those two weeks were supposed to be up to next week, Wednesday. So I was either going to submit my exculpation and justify why I should not be dismissed. The Civil Service Commission is the one that is supposed to dismiss me and not the Ministry of Health. Because of the advocacy that we have been doing, they started fighting me in the background,” he said.
“They suggested that I should be dismissed. If I am not happy with that suggestion, I needed to write to them and give reasons within two weeks. So I decided that instead of justifying myself and fighting this battle, there is no need. What these people want is for me to stop talking and they will stop following me. So all those things were being done to intimidate me.”
Earlier, Dr Sampa said he was faced with the challenge of choosing between safeguarding his job or speaking for the people.
“So there have been a lot of threats on my job as I pursued the road to truth and tried to advocate for better and quality health services. I was faced with a challenge to choose between safeguarding the job or speaking for the people and ensuring that you do the right thing. So in such an instance, it would have been a very easy decision to make if I was going to look at myself and the benefits of remaining with a job,” he said.
“Looking at the prevailing situation on the ground, I realised that looking at myself was not going to be enough considering the number of lives of people which matter more than my life alone. To that effect, I decided that I would rather do a better job of advocating for the people and serving the Zambian people in other ways without my job becoming a limiting factor. Whatever I try to do, because of my job in the public service, it was being used as a liability to tie and try to threaten me that your job is going to be taken away. So that is the real reason.”
Dr Sampa said he would still continue practicing as a doctor and helping the Zambian people wherever there was need.
“I look forward to working to serve the Zambian people. It is not only by working in the public sector that you can serve the Zambian people. I will still continue advocating for better health services and I will still continue practicing as a doctor and helping the Zambian people wherever there is need. I will still continue advocating for the quality health services and I will still continue practicing as a doctor. By the way, I am still continuing as president of the Resident Doctors Association of Zambia,” said Dr Sampa.