Government dilly-dallies on hiring 138 doctors


The government has come under fire for delaying to recruit about 55 doctors, 37 physiotherapists and 36 pharmacists who graduated from the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine in May this year.

Ideally, the doctors are hired a month after they graduate for an 18-month internship contract before being absorbed into hospitals.

But three months down the line, there seems to be no hope for recruitment, according to the doctors.


“It seems like the plan to have us employed soon will not work because the recent update from the ministry [of Health and Populatrion] says it will take longer than expected for the Human Resource Department to process our names for recruitment,” said Zaziwe Gundah, one of the doctors.

It is mandatory in Malawi that doctors should undergo internships to be certified by the Medical Council of Malawi for practice in the country’s public and private health facilities.

According to the doctors, they have been engaging the government since early July this year through the office of Director of Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health on the progress of their recruitment.


The medical practitioners said during their talks, government mentioned seven issues that were being looked at before the hiring and they included resource mobilisation.

Another doctor awaiting internship, Victor Mithi, said the government hinted at honouring its mandate to hire the doctors early this month.

“We were also told that government was in a process of expanding the internship exercise by including Zomba and Mzuzu. Initially interns were only being posted to Queen Elizabeth and Kamuzu central hospitals. Our concern is that every year government knows that there will be new graduates and there will be need to hire them, we wonder why they are taking long,” he said.

Executive Director of the Health and Rights Education Programme in Malawi Health, Maziko Matemba, said the government needed to seriously look at the issue as the medical field requires more practice.

He said there was need for an analysis on what is going on at the ministry because it will be a waste of resources training doctors but taking time in the recruitment process.

He said the country needs qualified medical practitioners most, adding the congestion in health facilities would ease down if training and recruitment of the staff were taken into proper consideration.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe, said they were aware of the development but could not recruit the intern doctors soon after they graduated in May as the government’s financial year starts on July 1.

“We had to think about them in the new financial year, so we could not do it earlier than now. Again Treasury has not yet remitted the required funding to get the medics on board. But we are expecting to engage them by October. This is, however, on condition that they also get registered with Medical Council of Malawi,” he said.

He said the ministry is waiting for an official communication from College of Medicine of the graduates.

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