HEALTH minister Dr Joseph Kasonde says his ministry intends to radically increase the output of nurses, doctors, and clinical officers.
And Dr Kasonde says health workers should desist from projecting their personal frustration on patients.
Meanwhile, government has purchased 58 utility vehicles worth over KR10 million for health centres in all the 10 provinces of Zambia.
In an interview, Dr Kasonde said it was evident that there was a shortage of staff in most clinics.
"It is true that the shortage of staff does create tension in those who have to work with a larger number of patients. But we all know that the whole point of being a professional is not to translate personal frustration into the sufferings of those who have nothing to do whatsoever with the cause of that personal frustration. We shall be making it clear to the public what our detailed plans are for a radical increase in the output of these professionals over the next few years," Dr Kasonde said.
He said the professional conduct of health workers was a matter for the Health Professional Council and the General Nursing Council to deal with.
"If they misconduct themselves in a professional sense then they are liable to levels of punishment culminating in removal from the register of nurses or register of doctors as the case may be, which means they can no longer practice legally. The ministry is responsible for the Health Professional Council and the General Nursing Council which are the two bodies that monitor and supervise the ethical and clinical conduct of doctors, nurses and other health workers," he said.
Dr Kasonde said people should report all health workers found wanting.
"It is so difficult when you hear a general complaint of dissatisfaction of the nursing profession because we don't know where to start from. But as soon as an individual is named, we have something to do immediately and there are very strict instructions on the processes for punishment or otherwise of such conduct," he said.
Dr Kasonde said it was recognised that doctors and nurses had ethical and professional reasons to conduct themselves properly irrespective of the circumstances.
He said both the Ministry of Health and the community development ministry were working hard to change the health workers' behaviour and attitude towards patients.
Meanwhile, Dr Kasonde during the handover of 10 vehicles in Lusaka, said the PF government took seriously the promises made to Zambians.
"Earlier in the year, we promised that we shall give utility vehicles to all the districts and so this is the beginning of implementation of our policy to ensure mobility at all health institutions. We expect that by June, we will be able to distribute ambulances to districts and from there we shall re-examine our position to see whether more is needed and if so what we shall do about it," said Dr Kasonde.