Malawi Vice President Khumbo Kachali who also doubles as Health Minister on Tuesday persuaded medical doctors, nurses and clinical officers to resume offering their services during the hours when they are entitled to locum , saying government will seriously consider their plea to increase the allowances.
The workers want the allowance to rise by about 600 per cent from K1 200 (about $4.80) to around K8 000 (about $32) per day.
They have been boycotting overtime shifts work pitting patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital at a huge risk which led to five deaths over the week.
But Kachali met the staff and said government had regretted about the situation and said the new administration of President Joyce Banda will work to address their concerns.
He appealed to the staff to resume their overtime shifts to avoid losing more lives.
“I really plead with you on behalf of all Malawians to resume taking part in shift,” said the vice president.
“You’ve my commitment that as a government we will look into your concerns so that the locum allowances are adjusted,” he assured the workers.
The workers have agreed to resume taking overtime shifts beginning Tuesday.
Malawi’s Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali said the medical workers’ demands are justifiable, admitting that K1 200 is not adequate as compensation for the work they do.
Locum is an arrangement government introduced to ensure continuous availability of clinical and nursing care by paying the staff based on the hours they have worked outside their routine schedule.