Mozambique: Health Workers Go Without Wages for Three Months

Maputo — Health workers have gone without their wages for three months in Ancuabe district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, because their director decided that other expenses were more pressing, according to a report in Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

The provincial health directorate sent a team of inspectors to Ancuabe to find out why seven health workers there were complaining about delays in paying their wages.

The total involved was 99,000 meticais (about 3.245 US dollars).

The provincial chief doctor, Hidayat Kassim, said the inspectors found that the Ancuabe district health director had decided that other activities were more important than paying his staff, and so the money was diverted to the areas which he regarded as priorities.

Kassim said this was against the principles that govern the functioning of the health ministry, and so administrative sanctions will be imposed against the Ancuabe director.

“It was found that, instead of paying wages to the staff, the district director prioritised other activities, but these were not eligible to be funded out of this money”, said Kassim. “As a result, the colleagues went for a long time without their wages”.

The seven workers had not received their November, December or January wages, the New Year's bonus (equivalent to an extra month's wages) or their lunch allowances. The money for paying the wages exists, added Kassim, and the workers concerned will receive their wage arrears within a matter of days.

He thought there had been communications problems between the provincial and district health directorates, but that did not give the director the right to divert his staff's wages to pay for other expenditure.

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