After three years of waiting for employment offers, a group of Concerned and Unemployed Nurses and Midwives (Cunm) yesterday held demonstrations in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre to force government to employ all 2 032 members.
In their petition, the Cunm members who downed tools on March 11 have given President Peter Mutharika a 30-day ultimatum to order massive recruitment of all nurse-midwives who are not officially employed by government but are working in such hospitals under what they call exploitative forms of locum, upkeeps and internships.
They have threatened a prolonged follow up series of demonstrations and withdrawal of labour if their demands are not met.
Reads the petition in part: “We demand total abolishment of internships in the nursing and midwifery discipline and that locum rates be raised to at least K10 000 per day and K15 000 per night.”
The part-time nurses and midwives are paid K3 000 for working at night and K2 500 per day besides student upkeep allowances of K30 000 for diploma holders and K50 000 for degree holders.
In Lilongwe, the unemployed nurses and midwives marched from the Lilongwe Community Ground through Mchesi to Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout via Lingadzi Roundabout to Parliament to deliver the petition at the civic offices.
In Blantyre, they marched from Chichiri Upper Stadium via Chipembere Highway to Civic Offices where they delivered the petition while in Mzuzu, they marched from Katoto Ground via Mzuzu Tower to Mzuzu High Court Roundabout to civic offices where the petition was delivered to Blantyre Cicty Council (BCC) director of administration services Lyton Nkata.
BCC public relations manager Anthony Kasunda said in an interview the council will deliver the petition to relevant authorities.
Since 2013, when government stopped direct recruitment of nurses and midwives, public hospitals have been using locum and student upkeep allowances to cover up the vacancy rates.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said in an interview earlier the recruitment process has already started and some are attending interviews with the Local Government Service Commission while others, who were successful, were reporting for work. n