The task force mandated to review and find out how enrolled nurses in Malawi could be upgraded to registered nurses has recommended that the nurses should first undergo a one-year programme at the Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) before the upgrading.
This comes against the background of the wrangling between National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (Nonm) and the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi (NMCM) on whether the enrolled nurses should be upgraded.
President Joyce Banda intervened and asked the two sides to resolve the issue within six months.
Speaking in separate interviews on Thursday, two of the members of the task force, NMCM chairperson Dr Adress Malata and Nonm president Jonathan Abraham-Gama confirmed that the task force came up with its proposals and recommendations which have since been presented to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Abraham-Gama said one of the recommendations in the task force report is that the enrolled nurses upgrading should follow the academic convention, but said instead of the six credits requirement and two years duration at MCHS, the enrolled nurses should have four credits and one year to get registered nurse diploma.
Enrolled nurses hold a maximum of a diploma mostly from Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) colleges whereas registered nurses have a university diploma from the MCHS or a bachelor’s degree from either the University of Malawi’s Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) or Mzuzu University.
The task force, according to Abraham-Gama, among others, comprised officials from the University of Malawi, Nonm, the Nurses and Midwives Council, OPC, Ministry of Health and various educators in the health sector.
In Malawi, it is estimated that there are almost 10 000 nurses, but almost 7 000 of them are enrolled nurses. However, the fact that these are not registered they are not regarded as full professional nurses and are not recognised at international level as nurses.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali also confirmed that the report has been submitted to OPC for further submission to the President.