Malawi faces a critical shortage of nurses with officials saying the current figures show that the country has only 25 percent of the required numbers.
In 2010, Malawi had a nurse/patient ratio of 17:100,000 and the ratio is said to have improved to 34 nurses per 100 000 patients but this ratio is still high compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 500 nurses per 100 000 patients.
Principal of Kamuzu College of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Address Malata in an interview with Nyasa Times said the situation is still deteriorating with nursing vacancy rate in the country now at 75 percent.
Malata sent an SOS calling for more collaboration among stakeholders to rectify the situation.
The KCN Principal was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the opening of a Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (Carta) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
She observed that quality healthcare cannot be improved with the current shortage of human resource in the health sector and nurses in particular.
“The current vacancy rate of nurses and midwives is huge. Of course, as a way of solving this problem, the University of Malawi has responded by creating new PhD programmes,” she said.
Malata said while more nurses and midwifes are needed in terms of providing bedside and other clinical care for patients, there is also need for more such professionals to intensify research.
“Research will help unearth new methods of training individuals and improve the health sector,” she said.
Carta was established by the African Population and Health Research Centre as a way of strengthening research infrastructure in African universities and to support doctoral training through a model collaborative PhD programme in population and public health.
“As a country, we have greatly benefited from Carta because the country has the highest total number of fellows under the armpit of the organisation,” said Malata.
She added: “Malawi developed a national health research agenda whose lifespan is four years from 2012 aiming at ensuring that research is in line with national development priorities.”
During the function, African Population and Health Research Centre director Alex Ezeh said it is important for African universities to work together as they normally have similar problems.
“We have to take a leading role in training scholars because a student, once trained in Africa, has got a high chance of working anywhere on the continent,” said Ezeh.
He also said university education in most sub-Saharan African countries faces many challenges, including unprecedented growth in student enrolment and the expansion of training programmes, among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :