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Ministry set interviews for nurses

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The nurses and midwives that were recently recruited and their service terminated after working in the public sector for just less than a month this year have been invited for interviews in Lilongwe.

This is contrary to the sector’s system where all nurses that passed the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi (NMCM) examinations were immediately recruited.

Despite that being the trend under NMCM which was established in 1966 under an Act of Parliament, government says that the procedure was unlawful for recruiting public servants.

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“Anyone entering into the civil service must first attend interviews and upon being successful [they] will be contracted but then earlier that rule was being bent,” said Adrian Chikumbe, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.

Chikumbe said although government needs a thousand nurses into the system, it could not afford to keep them into the ailing health sector aggravated by budget squeeze.

He said with the Public Sector Reforms, the ministry is required to conduct interviews after an approval from the Department of Human Resource and Management as to how many people should be recruited considering the resources available in government.

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“So the best is to conduct the interview and pick out 200 that have positions in the ministry. That is why these people are supposed to be interviewed. That is a normal procedure in the civil service to get people on board according to positions available,” Chikumbe said.

He did not say how many people have been invited for interviews that begin on November 17 to 27 this year.

Chikumbe said this system will help the people to have letters of appointment in their files than the other procedure.

The development comes after the nursing body last month threatened to take an industrial action if government did not rescind its decision to withdraw the 339 nurses and midwives.

However, in an interview yesterday, National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) president Dorothy Ngoma said the interview process is just a formality for engaging the already recruited nurses.

“They are free to do whatever they want but they are not free to fire them … whether they interview them or not, they are still government employees. For us it doesn’t matter and makes no difference,” Ngoma said.

She asked: “How can an employer employ someone without money? So they goofed and they will pay the price. The labour law will not allow them to fire people without any reason … and taking them for a disciplinary hearing for breaching one of the rules of the game.”

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