National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (Nonm) has threatened to take strike action if government does not rescind the decision to withdraw deployment of the recruited 339 nurse-midwives and intern doctors.
But government has urged Nonm to give dialogue a chance for the concerned parties to appreciate reasons behind government’s decision.
Early this week the Ministry of Health announced that the withdrawal was due to “procedural flaws on their engagement”.
However, speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Nonm president Dorothy Ngoma said their intervention with top ministry officials has revealed that the process may have been used as a scapegoat and that the reasons are financial.
While describing the decision as inappropriate, Ngoma demanded that government should pay and re-recruit the concerned health workers as they are employees of the ministry by virtue of the letters of employment they were offered.
“Our worry is raised on the basis that when the National Assembly passed the 2025/16 budget, the 339 graduating students were included in it and the allocations included an amount for their remunerations,” said Ngoma.
But Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said yesterday that if CSOs and all concerned parties heard government’s side they would appreciate the reasons behind the decision.
“Going ahead with plans to call for a nurses’ strike is creating a problem on top of another and it won’t take us anywhere,” said Chikumbe.
He added: “Like we said earlier, the decision is in line with public sector reforms and as a ministry we also have our own health sector reforms which we are following.”
According to Ngoma, the main concerned party with government’s decision on the health workers is the the Human Resource for Health (HRH) coalition that comprises Nonm, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) and the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU).
Reacting to the development, Mhen executive director Martha Kwataine said the decision shows lack of vision and leadership.
She said the civil society is ready to assist the affected cadres if they lodge a legal action against government.
“We will support them to drag government to court because this is breach of contract,” she said.