About 600 self-upgraded health workers have written Ministry of Health (MoH) to promote them within five days, failing which they will take unspecified action.
In a letter dated May 26 to the Secretary for Health Dan Namarika, the healthcare workers, in various government hospitals nationwide, say some have worked between four and 14 years without promotion despite upgrading their qualifications.
According to the letter, the healthcare workers include laboratory technicians, clinicians, orthopaedics and pharmacists.
Reads the letter in part: “Despite that we have upgraded and completed internship in our respective new qualifications [certificates, diplomas and degrees], the Ministry of Health has not promoted us to grades befitting our new qualifications and experience.”
The letter states that despite having the self-upgraded workers in the system, the ministry has on numerous occasions still proceeded to recruit new staff who are duly oriented in their new posts in various grades.
A self-upgraded laboratory technician, who opted for anonymity, in an interview on Wednesday said since joining the civil service in 2007, he has never been promoted.
He said: “Since I joined the civil service in 2007 as a laboratory technician with a diploma, I have never been promoted. I obtained a degree in health systems management but got no promotion. Now I am studying for a masters degree in clinical research but I do not know if I will be promoted after completing my studies.”
When contacted on Wednesday, MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango said with the has ministry recruited a number of health personnel in the past two years and plans to recruit more this year.
He said: “Government has promoted over 3 000 health workers in the past two years and many more will be promoted this year through laid-down procedures.”
But the letter states that the absence of promotions is affecting the health workers’ morale in efficient and effective delivery of health services.
The letter also states that health workers registration with professional bodies corresponds to new qualifications yet the ministry is paying them based on lower qualification.
Last month, various cadres of health workers downed tools due to lack of protective equipment and welfare in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The strike paralysed the health sector with patients being sent back from hospitals as there was no one to attend to them.
On April 4 this year, President Peter Mutharika declared Malawi a State of Disaster in light of Covid-19 and directed the recruitment of 2 000 health workers.
Currently, MoH has an estimated 23 188 personnel (out of 42 309 positions in the MoH establishment) working in the public health sector, representing a 45 percent vacancy rate.