Jan 1 , 2023

Health practitioners that were at the forefront during the pandemic are dissatisfied with the after-treatment since their contractual agreement got terminated. About 436 medical employees of the Ministry of Health lost their job due to contract termination while they were hoping to get permanent employment. The professionals who had been serving on a contract basis since March 2019 received a notice of contract termination signed by Minister of Health Lia Tadesse (MD) last week. The letter was dispatched to respective hospitals assigning medical professionals across the country.

Following the Ministry's decision, more than 140 health professionals out of 436 whose contract was terminated submitted their complaints to the Prime Minister's Office dismayed that they were denied permanent job opportunities.

Recently the Ministry announced that of 5,912 health professionals who worked during the pandemic on a contract basis,  over 5,000 have become permanent employees. Kebede Worku (MD), Advisor at the Ministry, finds no reason in the grievance as they signed the contractual agreement knowing it was timebound.

Kebede said that the Ministry tried to address their issue and assign them to work for regional health bureaus.

"Unfortunately, they refused the offer," he said.

Health professionals such as Melese Bante argue that there was no such offer. Melese is a Health Officer who first has been hired at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute. He was assigned to work at the Mental Rehabilitation Center for the past two years. He said that he was hoping to receive a letter of permanent employment rather than contract termination.

"I was eagerly waiting," he told Fortune.

According to the Health Officer, the Prime Minister's Office has asked them to wait for a week following the complaint letter submission of over 300 medical professionals.

Physicians have also responded to the national call and joined the frontline to treat patients. Yafet Solomon (MD), 32, is among the doctors that left the private Hospital he has been working for. He graduated from Betel Teaching Hospital six years ago and worked at a private hospital for three years. He was first assigned to Millennium Covid Center. After working for two years in the ICU ward, he was assigned to move to Torhayloch Hospital for half a year.

He claims that this was the second time he has received a contract termination letter from the Ministry. He regrets the decision to leave his secured position as he was promised the same only to be left hanging without even getting six-month worth of overtime payment.

"I feel like a property that was thrown after being used," said Yafet.

Nearly 6,000 health professionals were assigned to 64 health centers during the pandemic.

Six Months ago, Minister of Health Lia Tadesse (MD) reversed her decision to terminate the contracts of thousands of medical professionals following the disbursement of a 195 million dollar grant from the World Bank.

Under the Addis Ababa Health Bureau, Yekatit 12 Hospital, was established in 1923. It was one of the hospitals that received medical professionals from the Ministry. According to Wendmu Dulla, human resource director, close to 50 Physicians were first assigned but shifted to other places.

Twenty-one health professionals had their contracts renewed by the Ministry five months ago. They requested the Hospital to make them permanent employees. However, the Hospital did not have the mandate to instate the terms.

"The only thing we could do was hire them as contract employees," said Wendimu.

After the hospital posted a vacancy to hire 10 nurses and five pharmacists, more than 1,000 nurses were registered to compete.

Tigist Mekonnen serves as executive director of the Ethiopian Medical Association, established in 1954 as a lobby group. The Association comprises 45pc of medical professionals. According to Tigist, the Association is working to assert the perception that being hired in a public hospital is a priority.

Tigist recommends health professionals be innovative enough to create job opportunities for themselves.

"There is still a high demand for health professionals," she said.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 01,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1183]

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