The Malawi government has come under fire for its decision to withdraw nurses it had recently recruited without providing valid reasons.
The withdrawal is however widely believed to be due to lack of funds.
One of the withdrawn nurses who opted for anonymity has told Malawi24 that the decision has heavily affected the nurses.
“Some of us were sent to work in the north yet we are from the south, and we had to pay rent for 3 months in advance after borrowing money, hoping to refund after being paid salary.
“Now they are saying we are no longer employed and it’s worrying. We can’t rely on private hospitals to employ us since they are few and they want people with over 5 years of experience,” said the withdrawn nurse.
Commenting on the issue, executive director for Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Martha Kwataine told Malawi24 that the decision is “embarrassing” and is a “violation of human rights.”
Kwataine questioned the commitment of government to improve the health sector which is already struggling because of shortage of nurses.
Kwataine said: “Why did government give them scholarships in the first place and the money it got from the donors. All of a sudden it says it don’t have money to pay them. This does not make sense and it’s a violation of human rights because these people are psychologically affected.
“They were given expectations and some had to borrow money expecting that at the end of the month they will get paid.”
According to Kwataine a coalition called Human Union Health Coalition which includes Doctor Unions, Nurses Union, Paramedics and Uchembere Nurses will engage the government to reverse its decision.
“We are not letting this to happen, we have met and will meet again to make sure that the decision is reversed. It’s the treasury that said there is no funding. Why should there be funding for a United Nations (UN) trip and no funding for health workers?” questioned Kwataine.
The withdrawal has affected all nurses with diplomas and degrees recruited less than a month ago. This comes a few weeks after government also refused to employ nurses from Malawi College of Health Sciences Blantyre campus for no particular reasons.
But it further went ahead to employ nurses from Kamuzu college of Nursing (KCN) and Christians Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) colleges who have now been withdrawn.