Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Deal with rot in health system


The health profession is not called noble for nothing: it does not matter whether one is working in public or private health facilities, passion runs deeper than the love of money in the hearts of health workers.

It is not surprising, therefore, that, out of the many professions in the world, the health sector is synonymous with oaths and pledges, including the Hippocratic Oath and the Nightingale Pledge. Surely, only those who have passion and are committed to the cause of serving humanity dedicate their lives to saving the sick in health facilities.

On the part of patients, the thinking is that those who work in health facilities— we are referring, specifically, to those who serve patients in public and private health facilities— are people full of good will. No wonder that, while it is acceptable for a client to ask for the qualifications of a medical worker before getting medical attention, some patients in both rural and urban areas do not bother to ask for such details because they believe that the system has already done that for them by vetting those who serve patients.


But such trust may soon be lost, in the wake of regrettable cases of bad apples in the system. We are referring to Medical Council of Malawi (MCM)’s findings that, out of 30 complaints it received from the general public, 23 of them have been proven to be true.

This is sad and discouraging, to say the least. More so because, with unprofessional health workers on the loose, ready to pounce on the next unsuspecting patient, we are more closer to death than ever before.

Surely, there is need to rid the system of bad apples. Now, considering how crucial the health sector is to national productivity, there is no need for vain delays. As it were, while officials are busy looking the other way, some innocent soul is being lost somewhere as bad apples subject patients to inhumane treatment.


Somehow, we feel that, among other measures, the system of recruitment has to be reviewed. Exorbitant fees mean that those who have some cash, but are devoid of passion, are joining the health sector, prioritising money at the expense of human life.

Again, employers— both in the public and private sectors— have to look into the issue of remuneration. Some health workers are so frustrated with pay that they vent their anger on innocent citizens. We are talking of cases where they get peanuts or get paid late.

In both cases, those who joined the sector for the sake of monetary trappings on offer as well as those who enrolled in colleges because they had money should know that the industry is for the kind-hearted. It is better to leave the sector in the hands of those who value human life than those who are out to spoil the good image of the health sector.

Moving forward, we ask the MCM to crack the whip on the bad apples. Such practitioners have no room in health service delivery.

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