Nurses Employment: Minister, Envoy Clash

While committed to improve health service delivery in the country, government observes that it is near impossible to employ every trained health worker and as such expects other sectors to absorb the rest.

Health minister, Jappie Mhango, said this at Mzuzu University Tuesday where he officially opened a nursing students’ hostel constructed by the Norwegian government to the tune of K618m.

Mhango observed that, other than government, the health sector has other players who can employ trained health workers such as doctors, medical assistants, pharmacists and nurses, among others.

“Government will not employ everybody. Government will create an environment that will enable other economic players to employ health cadres. There will be no time where we (government) will employ all trained cadres.

“We want to train them so that other players can absorb them too,” said Mhango.

But deputy head of mission for the Norwegian embassy, Bent Bakken, said while they commit to ensuring nursing students learn under good and enabling environment, they would like government also to commit to recruiting the trained nurses whose vacancy rate remains high in the country.

The emphasis on the issue comes in the middle of an unresolved demand by doctors, medical assistants and nurses for government to offer them full time jobs in the civil service.

The unemployed health workers, who are working in public health facilities as interns, conducted public protests a week ago and petitioned President Peter Mutharika on their concerns.

Mhango hailed the Norwegian government for the hostels constructed through the Clinton Health Access Initiative as, he said, this contributes to Malawi achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 by 2030.

Mzuzu University Vice chancellor, Professor John Saka, said the hostels would help ensure that nursing students are accommodated near classrooms and the hospital where they do practicals.

“Every year we are committed to increasing enrollment by 110% across the faculties, but the holding capacity for the campus is slightly below 1000. Therefore, any intervention to deal with the accommodation challenge…is highly appreciated,” said Saka.

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