The Medical Doctors Union of Malawi (MDUM) and the Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) have given government a 14-day ultimatum to employ 51 recently graduated medical doctors or face industrial action by all medical doctors in the country.
This follows government’s failure to recruit recently graduated doctors within its health delivery system.
This, according to them, displays lack of seriousness by government in redressing an ailing health system that is already on the “life support”.
MDUM and SMD said in a joint statement that Malawi has specialist vacancy rate of 83% and the recently graduated medical doctors, “whom government is ignoring”, could have added to the number of those medical doctors to undergo specialist training in various fields.
“This is retrogressive in a country that is still struggling to meet the minimum acceptable numbers of medical doctors to safely serve the populace.
“We have continuously been told that the leading factors in human resource shortages in health are inadequate outputs from health training institutions amongst others including emigration, resignations and deaths. Now that there are visibly significant improvements in the outputs from the College of Medicine, it is inexcusable for government to fail to absorb them,” reads part of the statement.
In a 2010 World Health Organization (WHO), Malawi had only 257 doctors serving a population of over 15 million.
There are currently 459 general medical practitioners registered with the Medical Council of Malawi.
“Despite the increasing number, the doctor-to-patient ratio remains alarmingly high. Malawi deserve better.
“Malawi remains one of a WHO priority country perpetually failing to meet the target of 23 doctors/10,000 population necessary to deliver essential health services.
“It is not surprising that we are a diseased country, still confronted with high mortality and morbidity rates in various disease categories. Government does not have the luxury to ignore 51 recently graduated doctors unless it is contented with what other commentators have vehemently asserted: Malawi government has its priorities upside down,” reads the statement.
Malawi has only two doctors and 37 nurses and midwives for every 100,000 people, according to the statement made available to Nyasa Times.
“Therefore, we are strongly urging government through its Department of Human Resource Management and Development to absorb the newly graduated medical doctors into our ailing health system immediately, whilst fulfilling its own commitment to train medical doctors.
“Failure to do so within 14 days will warrant an industrial action by all medical doctors in the country,” emphasized the statement.
There was no immediate comment from the government, especially the ministry of health. Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume is reportedly outside the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :