Health employees refuse to transport patients over unpaid allowances

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Aron Mushaukwa

KATIMA MULILO – Employees in the Ministry of Health and Social Services in the Zambezi Region, have refused to undertake any trips which requires Substance and Travel allowance (S&T) payment, unless the money they are owed, said to be about N$3 million is paid to them.

The employees among others escorting nurses, paramedic officials and primary health care workers claim that they were not paid the said amount between 2011 and 2015.

During their meeting with the Health Regional Director in Zambezi Region Agnes Mwilima, about two weeks ago, they handed over a petition demanding that their outstanding monies be paid within five working days which has since lapsed.

The group also vowed that they would not undertake any trips unless S&T is paid in advance.
At the time, Mwilima said the ministry had already started paying out the outstanding monies. “We will be paying the backlog at the same time we are paying those who are going, so that they don’t go on empty stomachs,” she said.
New Era, however understands that nothing has been done to resolve the situation, and as a result the ministry had to hire a driver from Ministry of Works and Transport last week, to transport patients to Windhoek after their drivers refused to do so unless they are paid. It is not clear whether the driver was paid or not. Efforts to get comment from the health ministry proved futile, as Mwilima did not return the call nor respond to a message sent to her mobile phone.

However, the Zambezi regional coordinator for the Namibia Public Worker’s Union (NAPWU) Prisca Makabi confirmed to New Era that there are no new developments since their previous meeting.
She also reiterated that employees will not undertake any trip before they are paid.
“They will only take trips if they are paid S&T in advance,” she said.

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