Biometric registration for bunking doctors
HEALTH and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo has called for the immediate implementation of a biometric registration process in all public hospitals amid claims that doctors are not reporting for duty as required.
Moyo recently told the Health and Child Care parliamentary portfolio committee that the medical practitioners, most of whom recently returned to work after ending a four-month long strike over salaries and allowances, are not regularly and consistently reporting for duty in public hospitals.
Doctors in public hospitals downed tools in protest against deteriorating working conditions and the government reacted by firing over 435 junior medical officers following a three months-long impasse.
However, doctors agreed to go back to work after Higher Life Foundation offered a $6,25 million fellowship to help ease doctors’ welfare in the country.
The Health minister said the only way to ensure the continuous availability of medical doctors in public hospitals is to introduce biometric registration.
“We also have reports of senior doctors coming to work for only one week, every six weeks and during that week when they are supposed to be reporting for work, they only come for two or three days of the week.
“The ministry of Health has determined that government policy as announced by the ministry of Finance and economic development calls for biometric recording. This must be instituted at all government hospitals immediately. This will give the government the opportunity to pay its workers in accordance to attendance and performance at work,” Moyo said.
Progressive Doctors Association secretary-general Sitshengisani Vuma has, however, poured cold water on the minister’s claim that doctors are absenting themselves from work.
“It is not true that doctors are not availing themselves for duties unless if they are referring to the just-ended industrial action. As doctors we do our best to work together with everyone involved in patient care,” Vuma said.
The bio-metric registration process was introduced by the government as part of efforts to remove ghost workers from the existing Salary Service Bureau database and ensure that the people receiving salaries are bonafide workers.
It was adopted by the government to rationalise its wage bill under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.