Story and Picture by Betram Kaoma
Operations at Solwezi general hospital yesterday came to a standstill following a protest by health workers that was triggered by the shocking murder of another Ukrainian Doctor.
Dr Monochov Sergiy, 55,who was shot dead in the chest at his house in hospital compound by unknown people on Sunday (thisweek) worked as a Senior Registrar Anesthetist at the health institution for the past seven months.
The health workers who carried placards airing their grievances and concern demanded to be addressed by Northwestern province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu.
At a meeting attended by Mr Mubukwanu, Northwestern Permanent Secretary Augustine Seyuba, deputy commissioner of Police for Northwestern Province Paul Achiume and other senior government officers, Solwezi General Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Mathew Ng’ambi said Dr Sergiy provided critical health care for the Community and that the health workers at the hospital were saddened by the circumstances surrounding his death.
Dr Ng’ambi said the death of Dr Sergiy has caused a lot of anxiety among other expatriate doctors and health workers and called for the upgrading of the police post at the general hospital so that it could operate 24 hours.
Another Ukraine doctor from Solwezi General Hospital was shot dead at his house two years ago.
And Solwezi General Hospital Zambia Union of Nurses Organization (ZUNO) representative Levy Muna challenged police to bring the culprits to book alleging that medical staffs at the hospital have been subjected to attacks without police taking any action.
Mr Muna said recently a nurse was raped at her house in hospital compound whilst another was robbed at gun point but claimed that nothing tangible had been done by the police.
“This hospital has only 5 Zambian doctors and the rest are expatriates and the manner in which health workers at this hospital are being killed and attacked has instilled fear in not only the foreign doctors but all of us as we do not know who the next victim will be. If this situation is left unchecked doctors will be forced to leave and we are going to fail to manage this institution”, Mr Muna complained.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mubukwanu said government is saddened by the cruel murder of Dr Sergiy who has been a key asset to people of Solwezi and Zambia as a whole.
He said the Pf government has fully activated security agencies and assured the health workers that not only will the motive behind the killing of the doctors will be established but that assailants involved will be brought to book.
“Thedeaths of the two doctors send a bad signal about Zambia to the outside world but this doesn’t reflect the nature of Zambians who are known to be friendly and peaceful. I want to assure you that we will provide the leadership to address all your concerns because the PF government deeply appreciates health workers as professionals rendering a service to people and uplifting the standard and quality of life for Zambians”, the minister said.
Mr Mubukwanu has since directed the police commissioner in the province to ensure the police post at Solwezi General Hospital runs 24 hours immediately.ZANIS