Nurses body against locum


The National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM) on Tuesday led thousands of health workers in commemorating the International nurses’ day in Ntcheu with a call to government to rethink locum allowances which nurses receive when they work overtime.

NONM president Dorothy Ngoma said in an interview at the celebrations that the locum system is not healthy for the nurses as they are perpetually exhausted. She also observed that the system is not good for government because it is not cheap.

Ngoma, however, conceded that at the moment there is no better way to handle the critical shortage of nurses and midwives in the country other than using the locum system.


“The World Health Organisation recommends that one nurse should serve 200 people and yet in this country one nurse is doing the work of six other nurses,” she said.

Ngoma said at the moment Malawi has 12,000 nurses although the country needs 60,000 to match the population.

She also said it is even disheartening that having worked 14 extra hours, the nurse gets a very little amount of between K1,300 to K3,000 per day which is paid to them after three months of waiting.


“We petition government to revise upwards these allowances to at least be between K8, 000 and K10, 000 per day,” she said.

Guest of Honour at the function, Director of Mental Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Immaculate Chamangwana, said government is aware of the numerous challenges the health sector is facing in the country.

The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Nurses: A force for change; care effective; cost effective’.

“True to the theme, we want nurses to be critical in cost-effective delivery of health services,” said Ngoma.

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