Over 3 000 unemployed health workers have announced plans to hold nationwide demonstrations on November 29 to force government to recruit them.
A representative of nurse-midwives that are part of the planned demonstrations, Donald Zgambo, said in an interview yesterday the demonstrations will also incorporate unemployed doctors and clinicians.
He said in a statement issued yesterday the demonstrations will be in form of vigils on roads to State residences in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Said Zgambo: “We have many qualified and licensed nurses who are exploited and abused. Kamuzu Central Hospital has 35, so too Mzuzu Central; Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital has 45, Zomba Central Hospital has 25 who have been working [as interns] for over three years [despite] having full qualifications.”
He added: “We will hold a media briefing on Saturday where representatives of 90 doctors and 201 clinical officers who are not employed by the government will be present.”
A representative of the unemployed doctors confirmed their participation in the protests, saying they are frustrated with government’s delays on recruitment.
“They told us that we will be employed after the 2019/20 financial budget is passed, but when we engaged Ministry of Health after the passing of the budget, they simply said we should wait.
“It is frustrating that we spent six years in class and then two years on internship, but now we are unemployed yet there are so many vacancies in public hospitals,” said the doctor who opted for anonymity.
A representative of concerned clinical officers, Mervin Mikwamba, could neither confirm nor deny their participation in the protest, but stated that they are also hugely affected.
He said: “We held a meeting with some Ministry of Health officials on November 5 this year where we were asked to wait until January for vacancies because the budget was approved late. The question they didn’t answer was how many will be employed.”
MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango had not responded by press time yesterday, but Health Minister Jappie Mhango told our sister paper Weekend Nation that government recruitment policy is based on job establishment, as such, it cannot go beyond the set up.
After internship, nurses and midwives receive upkeep allowances of K30 000 for those with a diploma and K50 000 for degree holders.
MoH has an estimated 23 188 personnel (out of a total of 42 309 positions that exist in the ministry staff establishment) working in the public health sector, representing a 45 percent vacancy rate.