The National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (Nonm) has demanded the resignation of the board of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi for impeding progress on a presidential directive that the upgrading programme of nurse midwife technicians to State registered nurses should start by January this year.
However, the council has maintained that it will not bow down to pressure from the union to implement a one-year upgrading programme when a similar two-year programme is currently underway at the Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) Blantyre campus and other colleges were not ready to roll out.
Some sections of nurses across the country held marches on Monday to petition President Joyce Banda on the upgrading issue which has refused to die since last November.
The nurses in Lilongwe marched from Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout to the office of the district commissioner. In Blantyre, the nurses delivered their petition to Blantyre district commissioner (DC) Atanazio Chibwana.
On presenting the petition to the Lilongwe district commissioner Felix Mkandawire, Nonm president Abraham Gama told the gathering that the council was opposing the programme for unjustifiable reasons, yet the presidential directive was that the programme must be rolled out within six months from February, 2013.
“We wish to inform you, Your Excellency, that failure to act on these demands within 48 hours from the time of receipt, nurses and midwives across the country have demanded that they will withdraw their services until their demands are met,” the petition reads.
Gama said there has been progress on the development of the syllabus and curriculum due to pressure from the nurses union.
The nurses are demanding that the President should direct the council to implement the programme starting January 2014 and also direct training institutions to support implementation of the programme.
Gama said the institutions had initially communicated their readiness to start the programme contrary to the council’s assertions that only MCHS Blantyre campus could manage a fresh intake.
But the council has maintained that it cannot implement a programme parallel to one at MCHS-Blantyre campus.
“Council did not approve the one-year NMT to RNM upgrading programme because the hours needed for the developed syllabus cannot be accommodated in one year and the developed curriculum has serious deficiencies in basic science subjects which are core in the training of registered nurse midwife,” the council press’s statement reads.