The Ministry of Health and Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) have awarded 10 rural students scholarships to train at Malamulo College of Health Sciences as one way of addressing shortage of health workers in hard-to-reach parts of the Shire Valley.
MSF head of mission Rodd Gerstenhaber said the four awardees were recruited from T/A Mlolo in Nsanje and T/A Chapananga in Chikhwawa which are usually shunned by skilled healthcare staff.
On Thursday, the recruits signed bond agreements to work in their areas of origin for at least five yearsas 30 trainees from Thyolo have done in the past three years.
“After 10 years of working in Thyolo, especially in the field of HIV and Aids, it was impossible to ignore human resources constraints as one of the challenges to the delivery of quality healthcare services. The scholarship is a unique partnership with the Ministry of Health to ensure skilled and motivated health workers are retained in rural areas,” said Gerstenhaber.
The initiative will also benefit Chang’ambika and Chithumba health centres in Chapananga which are almost closed due to lack of medical assistants and nurses.
Chikhwawa district health officer Dr Elizabeth Nkosi and her Nsanje counterpart Dr Medson Matchaya estimated that about 60 percent of health posts in the districts are vacant.
However, government guidelines require every health centre to have a minimum of two nurses, two medical assistant and one environmental health officer.