Malawi nurses have warned they will take industrial action government to rescind its decision to allow over 300 new cadres of nurses and doctors to start practicing to save lives in hospitals of the country.
government has withdrawn the redeployment list and offer letters of employment to newly recruited nurse midwives, technicians and nursing officers due to lack of funds needed for government to sustain them.
In a letter dated September 10 2015 copied to all directors’ of central hospitals, district health officers (DHOs) and the executive secretary of Health Service Commission, Ministry of Health (MoH) Principal Secretary Mr MacPhail Magwira said government will confirm at a later date about the affected personnel’s contracts.
National Organisation for Nurses and Midwives (Nonm) executive director Ms Harriet Kapyepye said the decision threatens to further cripple the health service delivery in hospitals.
Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Human Resource for Health Coalition (HRHC) president Dorothy Ngoma said that government should reverse the decision at the same time review its commitments it made in improving the lives of its people because there cannot be meaningful growth if citizens are spending hours in hospitals due to shortage of staff.
“The acts by our government can lead to brain drain as our health care workers are demotivated ending up in private hospitals sector or leaving the country,” she observed.
Malawi’s nurse to patient ratio stands at one to 3 000 compared to one to 1 000 recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which Ngoma said was “shocking.”
“The government ought to pay the new recruits. It has made a grave misstate. This is inappropriate,” said Ngoma.
“Government is putting Malawian citizens at risk.”
Ngoma warned of national strike of nurses if government refuses to buldge.
“If government decice they don’t have money, for whatever reasons, we are going to court. We give them 21 days to reverse it or we declare a strike,” said bold Ngoma, a health activist of high repute.
Malawi Congress for Trade Union (MCTU) General Secretary, Pontius Kalichero, said the act by government to withdraw offer letters from health care workers is a violation of labour practices of the country.
“We urge government to call them back and save lives of people most of whom live in rural areas,” he said.
He vowed that the Union will never relent but fight on until the newly recruited health care workers are back to their stations of duty.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :