Medical crisis

It is nearly six months since the Government dismissed nurses for an illegal strike.

Since then the situation has continued to deteriorate as most specialized services suffer from a dearth of trained and experience officers      required in surgery and other specialized services.

The dismissal of nurses has simply added on to the staff crisis that plague many hospitals both in urban and rural areas of Zambia.

Sadly the worst hit is Lusaka which is suffering from a shortage of staff, equipment and drugs. Our health institutions in Lusaka are in a pathetic state. People line up as early as 05hrs to see a clinical officer who prescribes medicine to be purchased from private pharmacies because most hospital dispensaries are empty.

It would appear that existing institutions have  very little room in the plans of the Patriotic front(PF) which is determined to create more mega infrastructures which are costing the Government and the people of Zambia an arm and a leg in debt.

It seems the Government has taken very little heed of the admonition from the Zambia Medical Association which has stated very clearly that flamboyant buildings cannot treat patients in the absence of experienced personnel.

It was not very long ago that ZMA president Aaron Mujajati said the dismissal of experienced nurses from major hospitals had affected operations and the quality of healthcare service for the patients, but very little effort has been made to look into the situation with an intention of taking humane measures to stop the suffering.

It is about time that Government descended from the high ivory towers of 20th century economics of infrastructure development as the one and only route to social development.

No doubt the political authorities have flexed their muscle against hapless nurses whose only mistake was to demand for what had been promised them.

Instead of negotiating and assuring the nurses the Government took the unilateral and most certainly domineering position of imposing a lock out which has now affected the ordinary Zambians who are not able to access the normal services that health services should provide.

Elsewhere the ZMA has been quoted as stating that healthcare service in Zambia had remained suboptimal, more so in the absence of trained health practitioner.

The Zambian Government is lucky that unlike South Africans, the issue of social service delivery has never been taken seriously.

This is no reason for complacency, very soon the people will begin to connect the dots and realize that the mega million borrowings from external donors should be directed towards improving the lives and circumstances of the ordinary people.

It is only proper that Government begins to address these issues with some seriousness otherwise the future looks bleak.