THE government has announced that recruitment of about 3,000 new medical workers starts next week. The move, the government says, is tailored to seal the gaps left open after the dismissal of public servants, including medical workers, with fake certificates.
The government dismissed about 10,000 public servants last April in connection with possession of fake academic documents. It was determined that a large number of the fake document holders were unscrupulous medical cheats.
The state has also called upon the private health sector to join hands with it in its efforts to employ only qualified medical professionals. Health workers should be engaged only after painstakingly assessing applicants’ professional credentials.
The upshot here is to weed out any remaining quacks in the medical profession. Indeed, before the clean-up, medical facilities, including government dispensaries and health centres, harboured medical workers who held questionable medical knowledge or skills.
This unfortunate scenario had been, by and large, brought about by the prevailing shortage of medical workers and other professional paraphernalia. In the private sector the situation was even more frightening.
Shortages of medical materials and equipment, for example, remain a serious all-round problem. Even mundane items such as laundry soap, antiseptics and bed sheets sometimes fall seriously short.
In most cases, establishments in rural Tanzania had too few medical workers. So, running an institution that was understaffed, whose staff felt underpaid and one that lacked the requisite medical tools, was not a small matter.
In some cases, You found a single medical physician attending to nearly 100 patients a day instead of the mandatory 20. Such shortage of medical staff impaired the quality of service delivery.
This kink also opened doors to corruption and a lack of compassion for the sick. The government has vowed to redress the situation by kicking out all cheats and roping in better trained medical workers.
But, this is not likely to be the end of the tragedy for ailing, bedridden citizens. Medical workers also complain bitterly over meagre pay. So, you will find that most poorly paid medical workers have virtually turned into criminals.
Some extort money from the terminally ill or their relatives. This is a punishable medical atrocity. Even some revered medical doctors have developed cold hearts. This is unthinkable!
It is an evil that smells to High Heaven. In the parlance of the legal world, it is criminality. Ideally, all medical workers are sworn custodians of life. They are not supposed to be destroyers of life. It is time the rot was stemmed.