Government has said it is aware of the challenges and constraints facing nurses and midwives as they strive to contribute to the achievement of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara made the remarks in Zomba when she graced this year’s International Nurses Day Commemoration under the theme: “Closing the Gap: Millennium Development Goals.”
Hara appreciated the role nurses and midwives play at the community level in hospitals in providing services such as preventive, curative and rehabilitation among others.
She announced that government was working on ways to improve working conditions of the health personnel as a way of enhancing service delivery.
“My ministry is working hard to address some of the challenges. We are aware of the need to improve the working conditions of nurses and midwives and making sure they are provided with adequate facilities to help them in quality service delivery,” she said.
In order to reduce the high vacancy rates in the nursing profession, Hara said government plans to invest more in the training of different cadres including nurses and midwives.
Hara also hailed the good relationship that exists between her ministry and the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM).
“As we strive to improve working conditions for the profession, let me take this opportunity to commend the collaboration we are having with NONM with regard to addressing of grievances and promotion of ethics,” she explained.
Hara said government is always saddened by sit-ins or strikes in hospitals when there is room to solve the problems in a way that patients and service delivery cannot be affected.
On conversion of technician nurses to professional diploma registered nurses she said the proposal is being discussed at top government level and when all is done plans will be made for implementation.
NONM president Jonathan Abraham Gama asked government to comply with the recommendations made by unions with the government negotiating team (GNT) regarding salary increment in the 2013/2014 budget.
Gama said there was a need to address the gap faced by middle level civil servants in the February increment/harmonization exercise.
He also asked for more funding for hospitals and conversion of technician nurses to professional diploma registered nurses through a tailor made one year training in order to open their career ladder in the profession.
“We acknowledge the political will by the state president, Dr. Joyce Banda through the directive that technician nurses be converted to professional nurses at Registered Nursing Diploma,” the NONM president said.
The function which is cerebrated annually on 12th May world over was attended by representatives of nurses and midwives from both government and private hospitals across the country.
Among major activities were a big walk and awarding of certificates of excellence to best performing nurses.
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