Decisions by some senior UTH officials to corruptly award themselves contracts in the continued renovations at the institution have been cited as the main cause of junior doctors’ strike that has paralysed the institution.
And medical staff at the hospital have appealed to government to ensure the availability of equipment and improved working conditions in a bid to stabilise the situation at the hospital.
Sources at the hospital revealed that several senior officials at the institution were not following procedures in awarding themselves tenders to carry out renovation works and urged government to institute investigations in the corrupt practices.
“We cannot continue like this. We use old equipment but the officials have decided to award themselves contracts instead of buying and replacing old equipment,” the source said.
The junior doctors on Monday did not report for work as they felt cheated by the decisions of the senior officials and the source said a meeting held to table issues including the buying of new equipment.
He said one senior official at the ministry of health was collaborating with another at the hospital to siphon the funds which were meant for renovations through the corrupt awarding of tenders.
“It would be unfortunate if our requests are not addressed because the action we shall take will paralyse the institution. We want issues of housing allowances and study allowances to be tabled,” he said.
He pointed out that the tender that was announced for the proposed renovation of the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MBR-TB) ward had raised eye brows as investigations have revealed that senior officials at both the ministry and hospital were involved and were trying to cover up their involvement.
“The corrupt practices involved in the renovations at the hospital will gobble billions of Kwacha without practical results. Our revelations must be investigated and offenders brought to book,” he said.
And a check by the Daily Nation at C block and the paediatrics wing yesterday revealed that some doctors reported for work and attended to patients without any problems.
Some nurses talked to said they understood that what has been happening at the institution in the last two days had nothing to do with salaries but the junior doctors’ demands for new equipment and better working conditions.
UTH managing director Dr Lackson Kasonka has denied that doctors on Monday resolved to go on strike saying only post graduate students attended that meeting.
He said the work stoppage was purely academic and had nothing to do with clinical issues.
Dr Kasonka said all the interns working at the hospital had a meeting to discuss issues affecting their operations at the institution.
He however said the issues that involved bursaries and others were later resolved after the day long meeting.