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Resident doctors request to meet Lungu

THE Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) has requested a meeting with President Edgar Lungu to discuss their plight.

In a letter dated June 11, 2021, RDAZ president Brian Sampa said the association had exhausted all channels of communication for their plight to be addressed but it had not yielded desired results.

Recently, the RDAZ stage a go-slow, demanding payment of their salary arrears and employment of more doctors, among other things.

But high numbers of COVID-19 cases forced association to call off the go-slow despite government not meeting their demands which later led to Sampa being relieved of his duties and loss of his health practising licence.

But in the letter, Sampa has insisted that there was need to meet and discuss with the President on the challenges doctors were going through.

He said more doctors were urgently needed to manage COVID-19 facilities as the situation worsened.

“RE: REQUESTING FOR A MEETING WITH THE RESIDENT DOCTORS ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.

Resident Doctors Association of Zambia has been in existence since independence. It is made up of Medical students and employed Doctors namely Junior Resident Medical Officers (JRMOs), Senior Resident Medical Officers (SRMOs), and Registrars. Currently, the membership stands at 3,700 doctors out of the total number of 5,000 Doctors in the country,” the reads the letter in part.

“Your Excellency, health is a national priority. A healthy nation leads to better productivity. These doctors have been owed salary arrears, gratuities, settling in allowances and other personal emoluments as far back as 2010. In addition, we have a shortage of doctors in Zambia evidenced by the doctor-patient ratio of 1:12,000 against the WHO recommended 1:1000. This has resulted in doctors working more than 24 hours per day, leaving them physically tired, stressed and frustrated with others having the burnout syndrome leading to poor quality of work.”

Sampa said doctors had been hit with shortages of positions as more senior doctors were working in administrative positions while still getting paid as junior resident medical officers.

He noted that RDAZ’s demands was aimed at universal health coverage which the government was working on to attain sustainable development goal number 3.

“We have more than 500 doctors who are roaming the streets looking for employment for over a year now. Our appeal is for government to employ these doctors in order to cushion the shortages with subsequent translation into quality health service delivery,” said Sampa, who since been warned and cautioned by police for allegedly inciting the doctor’s go slow.

“Others have died without ever being put in substantive positions. It is at the backdrop of the above issues Sir, that we request a meeting within your busy schedule to discuss the way forward. This is after all the channels of communication have been exhausted and we have reached a deadlock. Your consideration in this regard will be highly appreciated.”

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