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Health workers threaten to strike

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By Wezzie Gausi

Healthcare workers have threatened to go on strike if the government fails to fulfil their demands in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was revealed during a press briefing which Human Resources for Health Coalition organised Friday.

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Chairperson of the Coalition, Shouts Simeza, said there were a number of issues the government has to address or else they will go on strike.

Among other demands, he said the government has to recruit more healthcare workers by March 1 this year.

“In our thinking, as we support efforts of the Ministry of Health, it would have been an automatic consideration to recruit additional healthcare workforce to beef up and strengthen the current lean and failing health workforce if we are to continue with this battle against the beast at hand (Covid-19),” Simeza said.

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He said, in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19, the issue of descent working environment for healthcare workers could not be overlooked.

President of Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi, Victor Mithi, said they were also concerned that, in some facilities, healthcare workers were unable to assist Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen administration due to lack of oxygen cylinders and other necessary equipment.

He said lack of equipment and supplies could be a contributing factor to “preventable deaths”.

“We, therefore, demand that the government should immediately provide all health facilities with adequate life-saving equipment, particularly oxygen cylinders and concentrators. In addition to this, the government should also establish oxygen plants,” Mithi said.

This year, over 700 healthcare workers from various cadres have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

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