Katutura hospital cleaners left hanging in the cold

Cleaners employed by a cleaning company which was contracted to provide cleaning services to Katutura Intermediate Hospital have been left hanging in the cold without pay, after their company’s contract was terminated.

The cleaners continued to show up at the hospital for work even though they are not receiving wages for the cleaning services provided.

They are now complaining that they are working without proper safety gear, regardless of them not being formally employed.

The ministry resorted to outsourcing for a private cleaner which saw Adaptic Investment for Cleaning Services coming along but when their contract came to an end by the end of December 2017 it saw all the cleaners losing their jobs. 

The company had initially been intended to work for six months but ended up taking a year and within three to four months, Katutura Hospital was getting compliments from politicians for being squeaky clean. 

This was in response to a “horrible picture” that had been painted of the state hospital as far as cleanliness was concerned.

Speaking to the press on this issue, Dr. Fady Ashmawy who is responsible for Katutura Hospital said there was nothing much they could do other than providing “some of them” with accommodation. 

 “They were 69 plus two supervisors, all of them insisted to stay in the hospital, insisted to come everyday and they said it’s our lifestyle now, where do we go, we are not used to stay at home.”

“I can not deny that they help a lot but I want to say clearly that we did not cheat anybody from the first day. We had a meeting with the volunteers and we translated even for the people who did not understand the language. We said clearly volunteering must be formalised through the HR, there is documents to be filled.”

He said they did not promise any remuneration of any kind: “Verbally to all it was very clear no jobs or no posts. I can not deny that we are trying to find a way to (help the situation)."

Meanwhile, the health ministry is filled with people who are working in various positions on a voluntary basis but this by no means gets them preferential treatment when recruitment for full time workers comes.