News that about 55 doctors, 37 physiotherapists and 36 pharmacists—who graduated in May this year—have not yet been recruited signals lack of seriousness by the government in addressing the much-talked-about shortage of health and medical personnel Malawi faces.
The comment from the Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe, that they are aware of the development but could not recruit the intern doctors soon after they graduated in May as the government’s financial year starts on July 1 is also baseless.
To any person, this means that the government does not want to improve health service delivery in public hospitals where most patients go unattended to due to lack of enough specialised workforce, like the ones who are currently being neglected.
The same government forgets that just last year, ActionAid International revealed that there are only 300 doctors working in the country, with an estimated population of 17 million.
Lest the authorities forget, such revelations make Malawi one of the few countries in the world with one of the highest doctor-to patient-ratio. As it stands now, one medical doctor is expected to serve almost 60,000 souls which, according to the organisation, is something that is unacceptable.
The news that the authorities are not willing to recruit such well-trained graduates is something that Malawians cannot be happy with.
We, further, wonder of the priorities that the current government has because failure to recruit such graduates, who it (government) trained using our taxes, raises more questions than answers.
Just like various health campaigners, we too urge the government, through the Ministry of Health, to recruit such graduates without haste.
In all essence, you train people so that they are employed and not let them loiter in towns as if they had nothing to show. The gesture by the authorities, as some have said, forces them (graduates) to go abroad looking for employment opportunities.
Surely, we can export other professionals but not health and medical professionals looking at the ever-increasing gaps in the country’s health sector.
It is time government recruited the medics or accepted that Malawians should continue to die of curable and preventable diseases.
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