Chiradzulu District Hospital staff are on strike demanding their September to December 2020 Covid-19 risk allowances which have accumulated to K4 Million.
Chiradzulu District Hospital Public Relations Officer, Cosmas Joshua said Clinical, Nursing and Lab department have already stopped working and environmental department is yet to join the strike.
Joshua said follow-ups with management were done several times and people were promised to be sorted out by December but some staff who were supposed to receive subsistence allowance have also not yet received.
According to Joshua the strike has compromised service delivery at Chiradzulu district hospital because screening and testing for Covid-19 has stopped and patients are not attended to.
“The staff were told that Covid-19 funds were used to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which are nowhere to be seen as the hospital reported 0 cases from November to December 2020. The hospital now depends on donations from well wishers and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),” Joshua
He also said most health workers are afraid of putting their lives at risk because of lack of PPEs as some hospital staff including senior officers have already tested Covid-19 positive.
According to Joshua the hospital only hopes to get PPEs a month from now from Medicines San Frontiers which supported the facility with hand sanitaizers it is using now.
District Nursing Officer, Felina Khonje said it was sad for the hospital to reach this point adding that there is need to handle the issue with urgency before the strike reaches the worst point.
She said that it was unfortunate that the striking staff haven’t yet received their December locum allowance despite the council being funded on the same.
“On 13 January this year the staff were told that all processes were done and they would receive their allowances only to discover there was a mistake on dates hence the council ordered the bank not to process the allowances after being consulted,” Khonje adds
She said it was surprising that the council never instructed the responsible accounts officer to rectify the problem.
The council is failing to release the funds despite being funded MK25 million for covid-19 in December, 2020.
Chiradzulu District Hospital carters for people of Chiradzulu, Blantyre and Phalombe and service delivery on Covid-19 tests were improved and people from Blantyre were coming in large numbers to access the service.