Malawi Government has said nurses and midwives graduating from various colleges should not reject postings to health facilities in rural areas where their services are needed most.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of 42 students who were pursuing diploma in nursing and midwifery at Nkhoma Nursing School on Thursday, Ministry of Health director of nursing services Sheila Bandazi said the country’s vacancy rate for nurses and midwives is at more than 70 percent.
Said Bandazi: “We urge all nurses and midwives who have just graduated to report to the areas where they have been posted. Some of them reject postings to rural areas where they are needed most. We know there are challenges such as lack of [potable] water and electricity, but we are ready to discuss with them on how best we can support them to work better in their duty stations.”
She said construction of staff houses in various rural health centres is one of the efforts government is making to improve living conditions for health workers in remote areas.
“Nurses are professionals. They should be reporting according to their postings considering that we have a very high vacancy rate. They took a pledge of nursing which they have made to God. They should live by that pledge and treat patients like human beings during the day or night,” said Bandazi.
She urged the graduating nurses not to participate in industrial strikes, saying such actions affect delivery of health services to patients.
Nkhoma Nursing College acting principal Fatima Ndege said the college strives to produce nurses with a difference as Malawi needs nurses who can live up to their vows.
“Malawi is not just lacking nurses. The country is lacking nurses with a difference and commitment to live up to their vows. When training them, we keep updating our curriculum to incorporate contemporary issues because everything is changing including diseases,” said Ndege.
Nkhoma Synod of the CCAP Presbyterian Church moderator Reverend Chantha Msangaambe said 33 of the 42 nurses and midwives who have graduated from the college are females.