National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives has petitioned President Peter Mutharika to give executive orders to the government to recruit over 2 000 nurses who graduated two years ago.
Outgoing president of the organization Dorothy Ngoma presented the seven-point petition to Mutharika through minister of Health Atupele Muluzi during an annual general meeting in Lilongwe.
“The vacancy rate in public hospitals for nurses is at 66 per cent. This is a threat to patients especially the lives of pregnant mothers. Yet we have 2, 000 nurses who are just sitting idle,” said Ngoma.
Ngoma said the nurses have given the government up to January to recruit the nurses, saying the nurses would resort to an unspecified action if the government fails to do so.
She said the few nurses in public hospitals are overworking, saying this is taking a toll on their health as well.
Health minister Muluzi assured the nurses that the government would recruit the nurses but could not say the recruitment would be done by January next year.
“Global Fund has confirmed that it would be releasing an extra US$1 million for the recruitment of health workers most of whom are the nurses,” he said.
Muluzi said the government has already recruited 846 health personnel.
The standard policy is that four nurses attend to 1000 patients but in Malawi one nurses attends to 1000 patients.