By JOHN SAKALA
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya says he will not allow the Health Professional Council of Zambia (PCZ) to have a reign of terror against health facilities.
Dr Chiufya said he will allow terror of closures, penalties and fines because that was not the reason why the HPCZ created.
HE said it is inhuman for HPCZ to close down health institutions and schools on flimsy grounds.
Speaking when he inaugurated and inducted the new HPCZ Board, Dr Chilufya castigated HPCZ for inhuman and irrational conduct in the discharge of its regulatory duty.
He threatened to disband the institution for causing massive disruptions in the health sector and for promoting conflict by its rampant closures of health facilities on unjustified grounds.
He also expressed surprise that the HPCZ had issued purported disciplinary measures against the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health who was the controlling officer.
The Minister said the Council had behaved with utmost insubordination towards the Permanent Secretary.
“The Council had gone on rampage closing down health institutions on grounds that a fire extinguisher was missing. There was lack of rational conduct by the Council to levy punitive costs as high as K300, 000 to Health facilities that cannot afford such charges.
“The Council had literally taken the role of a police service and was insensitive to the realities and challenges existing in the health sector. Although the body was formed to regulate training, service delivery and was a technical wing of the Ministry of Health, the recent conduct of the Council and its officials failed to recognize the environment that they operated,” he said.
He regretted that besides certain public institutions that were closed, HPCZ had closed Mission Hospitals and levied them exorbitant fees when they provided such services as an act of charity.
Recently HPCZ closed down five health facilities on the Copperbelt for various violation.
Former Chief Executive Officer and Registrar Aaron Mujajati said the institutions were in Luanshya, Kitwe and Ndola.
Mr Mujajati named the facilities closed as Section 5 Mine Clinic and Baluba Shaft Mine Clinic both located in Luanshya.
Others were Copperbelt University Clinic in Kitwe, Sinozam Friendship Hospital also in Kitwe and Hilltop Hospital located in Ndola.
Mr Mujajati also closed other 32 health facilities across the country including medical schools such as Copperbelt University School of Medicine.
But Dr Chilufya said the Council was combative, and unreasonable in the discharge of its duties.
“The role of HPCZ was a technical partner of the Ministry of Health. The institution was tyrannical so far and had unleashed a reign of terror against health institution. I call on the new Board to work as partners and supportive, and not as a monster to devour existing health institutions.
“Government has limited resources and the process of delivering universal health to all was a daunting task. The Council had disrupted health service delivery and promoted conflict with other government agencies. The Council was expected to be partners to other stakeholders such as private clinics, Mission Hospitals and others, in the health sector and the Council should have played a supportive role,” he said.
Dr Chilufya recently removed Dr Aaron Mujajati as CEO and Registrar from HPCZ and transferred him to Ndola General Hospital.
He said the recent work of HPCZ had undermined the work of the Patriotic Front in the health sector and the goal to achieve universal health coverage.