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Government under fire over health workers recruitment

The government Tuesday came under fire for failing to recruit hundreds of students who completed health service training in various institutions three years ago.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Juliana Lunguzi, who is also Member of Parliament for Dedza East Constituency, asked the Ministry of Health to consider exporting human resource to countries where there is huge demand for nurses.

Lunguzi accused the government of failing to control high intake levels in training institutions to prevent high rates of unemployed nurses as well as failing to take into the system those that completed their trainings.

“Kamuzu College of Nursing used to have an intake of 50 people; now, they have increased to 250 students which is too much, but they can’t manage to absorb all those into the working space.

“Recruitment is taking over three years to be done. I know about 30 doctors who worked in Lesotho because we could not manage [to recruit] them,” she said.

She put it to the ministry that the frustration of seeking greener pastures in other countries is due to low wages that health personnel get in the country.

“The question is coming in due to the frustration among young people who have graduated. Some have been working for 30 years and are earning K50,000 per month, which is very little,” she said.

But Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi, said the government cannot afford to export health personnel it has invested many resources in, considering the country’s growing population.

“It is not our primary responsibility to train the personnel for the purposes of exporting. We would not see much value from the investment both the government and development partners make.

“We do recognise that a number of them have left. In Lesotho and Swaziland, where many people have gone to, the difference is $200. We are in a process of looking at ways of attracting them back to Malawi,” he said.

But Member of Parliament for Kasungu South East Constituency, Khumbize Chiponda, accused the government of undervaluing workers, arguing that personnel in the country get less than expected.

But Muluzi said his ministry is liaising with the Ministry of Finance and development partners on how to motivate the workers and retain young graduates.

“We have been in discussion with development partners and Ministry of Finance to see what we can do using the resource envelops to improve the situation. One measure is to make sure that they are promoted,” he said.

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