Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Doctors in Mahenge district need their call allowances

SOME Doctors in Morogoro region have expressed their disappointment over the system of paying their call allowances which the Ministry of Health and Social Services had approved for them in its budget during the 2013/14 financial year. One doctor from Mahenge district in Morogoro region who spoke on strict condition of anonymity on Tuesday this week revealed that, since the approval of the allowances in July last year, they have received it only for two months. However, he is worried why the ministry of Local Government and Regional Administration (LGRA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services do not keep abreast with the issuing of the money on time.  According to the source, there is a looming strike likely to occur in some hospitals within the region and probably in some other parts in the country if the government does not take immediate attention it deserve in order to solve the matter by settling their payments on time. He is on the view of the fact that, as long as their payments delays, it gets accumulated an aspect that it would be difficult to pay them later on, just like accumulation of teachers’ pay He said there has been an embezzlement of some of the executives that cause the delaying of such payments despite several claims by some of them to the higher authorities concerned, but nothing has been done so far up to now. When contacted for comments, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Donan Mmbando challenged the matter as he could not be in a position to answer such claims. However, he relayed the message as an advice to his secretary who directed this reporter to contact the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Administration as the matter was being handled by them. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Jumanne Sagini had no immediate answers when contacted for clarification over the matter, and instead helped this reporter to get the contacts of the Morogoro Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Elia Ntandu for further comments. When contacted, Ntandu admitted to have been some delaying of the payments to the concerned doctors in the district since August last year and said that, the problem was beyond his office control ,. Narrating why the payment has been delayed for so long, he clarified that, it is the central government which deals with all payments for district doctors whose transaction is channeled through district councils in the country. However, he noted that as per the case of doctors at Mahenge, the delays might have been caused due such transactions but promised to be working on the matter to let doctors paid soon. The President of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) Dr. Primus Saidia noted that, his office had not yet received such claims when this reporter contacted him to get his comments over the matter. However, he claimed later that, doctors professionals have established an organ called ‘Tanzania Medical and Dental Pharmaceutical Workers Union to stand for their rights and remunerations incase of any problem such as these. He also noted that, MAT has remained to deal with the doctors’ professionalism only and how to promote the industry for the interests of professionals. The government’s decision to increase doctors’ call allowances was reached following doctors’ strike that shocked the nation two years ago after their decision to down tools rendered medical services at the country’s leading hospitals to grind to a dead halt as they demanded for their salary increase and other allowances. In order to improve the poor working environment into bringing quality services in hospitals in the country, the government had endorsed increment on their salaries and some call allowances of different categories to its doctors working in government hospitals countrywide. Payments of such allowances is determinable according to their professional level standard and is not taxable that ranged between Tsh. 10,000/- and Sh. 25,000/- is given to doctors such as Medical Assistants and Officers, District Medical Officers and Specialists who call at their working stations to work on extra official hours.

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