The PF government should not pretend that it can recruit 2,000 nurses when only three hundred graduate each year, says the Young African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe.
Ntewewe said it was unrealistic for government to continue insisting that it could replace the dismissed nurses with new recruitments when the sector has been operating with low staffing due to insufficient numbers of trained personnel.
He described the situation as unacceptable because the government was well aware of the situation in the health sector concerning shortage of manpower.
“It is lie that they can recruit so many nurses at one go. Where will those nurses come from when we know that nursing schools around the country are only able to graduate between 300 – 400 nurses per year,” he said.
Ntewewe also questioned the reason for government’s move to dismiss the nurses when they had already resolved to call off their strike action as announced by the union representatives.
He wondered why government had taken a position to intimidate public workers from claiming what they felt was due to them, and chose to dismiss them.
“It was an ill thought that everybody who protests will be dealt with dismissal, which is loss of income. It is not right for them to bury their head’s (government) in the sand and pretend all is well when many Zambians were going through untold suffering in the hospitals,” he said.
He has since called on the Minister of Health Dr. Joseph Kasonde to consider the plight of many innocent Zambians who were suffering due to reduced workmanship in major hospitals around the country.
“Even senior doctors at those affected hospitals have attested to the sufferings of the people following government’s decision to fire over 500 nurses in hospitals around the country including the unfortunate closure of some operation theatres at the University Teaching Hospital, the highest referral hospital in the country,” he said.
He said this showed a serious lack of commitment and poor choice of priorities for the government because the situation had affected the health of the people proving that “the government is not interested in the people.”
YALI said the nurses were wrongfully dismissed and should therefore be reinstated unconditionally as it was their fundamental right to demand for the full value of their work and skill in their line of duty.