MoHSS urged to permanently employ NTLP workers

Staff Writer

Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament, Hidipo Hamata has called on the Ministry of Health and Social Services to reassess the employment status of the staff of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) who have served under contract for over a decade.

According to Hamata, the health workers have served in the Ministry within the NTLP program since 2006, contributing significantly to the nation’s healthcare landscape.

Despite their unwavering commitment and critical roles, the lawmaker noted that many of them continue to work under precarious contract arrangements, year after year.

NTLP is an integral program of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, introduced to help fight Tuberculosis and Leprosy in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.

Hamata in a statement he issued yesterday, said many employees working under the program are not entitled to formal employment benefits, such as medical aid and pension.

According to him, this is a concern that puts the well-being of these individuals at risk as they work under difficult circumstances of dealing with patients affected with tuberculosis, one of the most easily transmitted diseases in the world.

“We underscore the inherent risks faced by these employees, who are consistently exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases due to the nature of their work,” he stated.

For this reason, Hamata is pleading with the ministry to transition NTLP employees from contract-based positions to full-time employment status.

“Working on contract employment hampers their ability to accumulate assets and secure their future,” he stressed.

He said that transferring these employees to full-time employment will afford them the right benefits and stability they have long earned. Because the current employment structure undermines employees’ ambitions and does not motivate them enough to do more.

“The Government through the Ministry of Health and Social Services, has a moral obligation to ensure that those who serve on the frontline of healthcare are granted the dignity and security they rightfully deserve,” he expressed.

He further demanded that employees’ dedication, expertise and sacrifices be acknowledged and rewarded with equitable and secure employment arrangements, and urged the ministry to take immediate action to revise the program deployment structure and address the matter.

In response, Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe said that Hamata should be more specific with his demands.

Nangombe explained that the ministry has full-time employees in the NTLP programme while adding that there are some positions within the program in the ministry that are supported by international development and cooperation partners in the health sector.

“Those people are employed based on the funding availability,” he said.

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