In an attempt to reduce critical shortages of health workers in the country, an international organisation, Medics to Medics, is this year expected to introduce nursing scholarships for needy students at Mzuzu University.
The scholarships will be in addition to other funding the organisation is currently offering to students at College of Medicine.
Medic to Medic Director, Tamsin Lillie, said her organization, which has been operating in Malawi since 2007, is concerned with the critical shortages of medical personnel in Malawi, hence they decided to partner government to increase numbers of heath workers.
“Currently in Malawi every two doctors treat 100,000 patients which is among the highest in the world. This is so at a time when there are more needy students who are withdrawing from medical schools due to lack of funds, something which we want to address through our scholarships,” said Lillie.
She further said since the introduction of the scholarships in 2007, the organisation has sponsored 35 students that have so far graduated in pharmacy, medicine and physiotherapy.
Currently, there are 49 students in the same field who they are supporting with tuition fees and other school needs.
“School fees in Malawi are expensive if you consider the levels of poverty in the country. There are few people that can pay the required K275, 000 per annum. This is evidenced by the fact that this year alone, we received over 100 applications for scholarships and, due to financial constraints, we have only taken on board 14 students,” she said.
Lillie, however, encouraged Malawians of goodwill to start supporting medical students as one way of improving the situation in the health sector.
She also encouraged other donors to use her organisation as it has in place structures that ensure that only needy students benefit from the facility.
“All our health workers are working in Malawi except for one who is in Lesotho. We are encouraging them to donate something towards the organisation so that more students have access to education. With the current funding, we are spending an equivalent of K21.5 million per academic year and the figures are likely to increase with the nursing scholarships which we are introducing in Mzuzu to cater for health workers in the Northern Region,” she said.
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