BY TIMES EDITORIAL:
It is a well known fact that a majority of people in the country, particularly those in rural areas, rely on public hospitals when it comes to accessing medical care. This is why there is usually great concern whenever glitches are encountered—whether natural or man-made—that threaten to disrupt the provision of public health services.
We were therefore taken aback by news that a whole clinic in Mzimba had to shut down just because the one who administers medical services to people in the area had decided to go on his annual leave, without setting in motion a back up programme that would have seen another medical officer deployed for relief duties.
As much as we appreciate that every worker has a right to rest, we believe a little sacrifice in needed especially when one is in a profession that is central to human life.
It is disturbing that people working in the civil service no longer exude the same passion and dedication that was there in yester years. But they cannot be entirely blamed. Most of them have become frustrated due to a number of factors that include lack of incentives, meagre remuneration packages, poor accommodation, lack of supplies and equipment with which to effectively carry out their duties.
That, however, is no excuse for someone responsible for the health care of an entire community, to close shop and embark on a holiday, placing at risk the many lives of people depending on the medical services rendered by the health centre. Work in the medical profession is more than just a job, it is a calling. That is why doctors and nurses actually have to take an oath, committing themselves fully to their jobs, knowing that they must save lives at all costs.
Going forward, we can only hope that the authorities will make good of their promise to investigate the issue and hold to account the one responsible for the mess. This health rights violation of the highest order must stop.