Ministry of Health (MoH) has withdrawn the redeployment list and offer letters of employment to newly recruited nurse midwives, technicians and nursing officers due to lack of funds needed for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, MoH Principal Secretary MacPhail Magwira said government will confirm at a later date about the affected personnel’s contracts.
The letter has been copied to all directors’ of central hospitals, district health officers (DHOs) and the executive secretary of Health Service Commission.
Reads Magwira’s letter in part: “I write to inform all hospitals of the withdrawal of the letters of offer of appointment which were issued to the newly qualified nursing officers, nurse midwives, technicians, and community midwifery assistants from the Christian Health Association of Malawi [Cham] training institutions and the public training institutions of the Malawi College of Health Sciences, Kamuzu College of Nursing and Mzuzu University.
“The ministry is, therefore, requesting all hospital directors and district health officers to advise all the concerned officers who reported [for] duties following the letters of appointment that they should not report for duties as said in the letter but must instead take the letters back to the ministry headquarters where they will be issued with new instructions.”
In an interview on Monday, MoH director of human resource Salim Sumaisi confirmed the withdrawal of nurses, saying the decision was made due to “technical employment issues” the ministry is working to address.
He said: “Government is the one that facilitates deployment, and when that is being done, we want to make sure that it is done in a smooth way where the employees will work in good environment to achieve government goals, now with the current set up, this will not go down well unless government resolves the issues at hand, hence the withdrawal.”
But National Organisation for Nurses and Midwives (Nonm) executive director Harriet Kapyepye said the decision threatens to further cripple the health service delivery in hospitals.
She said: “Already, the country is facing a shortage of nurses, and calling these back means government has called back services which would otherwise help boost the hospitals. This is a blow.”
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).